Showing posts with label Plate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Plate. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Still new to Paleo and trying to work out some substitutes for your favorite staple foods? Well here is a list of eight Paleo substitutes I frequently use. Some are fairly straight forward and obvious while others are a little more quirky. I'll give some basic 'how to' but for more detailed recipe just go ahead and Google them. 

1. Instead of white rice... try cauliflower rice

If you are going strict Paleo, if you want to restrict carbohydrates or lose weight then you may want to avoid white rice. Cauliflower rice is delicious, easy to make and more nutritious than white rice while being less energy dense and very low carbohydrate and high in soluble fibre.

  • Dice half a head of raw cauliflower in the food processor or as finely as possible with a knife. 
  • Place cauliflower in a big pot with about 1cm (1/2") of (boiling) water
  • Add sea salt and a couple of spoons of coconut cream (optional).
  • Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes depending on how 'al dente' you want it to be. 
  • Drain the excess water then add seasoning to taste and maybe some grass-fed butter or olive oil to make it extra awesome.
2. Instead of cooking with canola/sunflower/other vegetable oil... use coconut oil

Refined vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, cottonseed and soybean oil are unhealthy and should be avoided as much as humanly possible. They are very high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 (linoleic acid) and have basically zero nutrition. 

Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is amazing stuff and should be consumed liberally but only when raw. Even though coconut oil and olive oil have a similar smoke point the fact that coconut oil is a saturated fat suggests that it is safer to cook with than the largely monounsaturated fats in olive oil, which tend to denature at temperature and are more prone to oxidation. 

Thus, use coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter) for cooking.

3. Instead of wheat flour... use dried shredded coconut

Wheat = gluten = bad news. Stay clear! You have been warned.

The Paleo diet is so effective because it eschews modern, processed foods. While you can technically make delicious "Paleo" desserts and baked goods using nut flours, dried fruit and honey I really don't think it is a good idea to be regularly eating muffins, cakes, brownies and chocolate mousse just because they are made from "Paleo" ingredients. 

Almonds are very high in omega-6, fat and energy. So if you eat a cake with two cups of almond flour just think about how extreme this is. Imagine if you had to collect that many almonds yourself!

don't often eat things that require a flour substitute, however I do use dried shredded coconut in my banana coconut pancakes and they are amazing. I also occasionally make carrot muffins using only carrots, eggs, coconut oil, shredded coconut, baking soda, walnuts and a tiny bit of honey if other people will also be eating them. 

4. Instead of toast... try a sweet potato rosti

Image courtesy of 

If you really miss your toast and want some carbs with your bacon and eggs once in a while then try making a sweet potato rosti. Sweet potatoes are more nutrient dense than white potatoes and have a lower glycemic load. 

Side note: White potatoes are "not Paleo" because they are a nightshade and therefore contain some potentially harmful anti-nutrients (particularly in the skin). Also the carbohydrate in white potato is readily converted to glucose causing blood sugar control issues in some people. 

  • Peel a big sweet potato and then grate it into a bowl 
  • Add sea salt and pepper and toss
  • Heat coconut oil or butter/ghee in a frying pan
  • Take a big handful of the sweet potato and form it into a rough ball shape
  • Flatten this out into a patty and cook through, flipping once or twice. This should take about 10 minutes depending on the thickness.
5. Instead of ice cream... try coconut cream with berries

If you can find a nice, thick, delicious coconut cream (thickness and taste varies significantly between brands) then when it is cooled it makes a terrific substitute for cream. 

For a nice dessert add some berries and/or chopped banana to a couple of spoons of chilled coconut cream - and maybe even a little honey if you are desperate for sweetness. I personally don't use honey but I add some nuts, shredded coconut and occasionally shaved dark chocolate. This is my go-to dessert and it's bloody incredible! It all hinges on the quality of the coconut cream though. 

6. Instead of energy drinks... try Bulletproof Coffee

You couldn't get much further from Paleo than Red Bull, Monster or 5-Hour ENERGY. These drinks are simply awful concoctions of sugar and chemicals.

If you really need a Paleo power boost - especially in the morning - then you can't go past Bulletproof Coffee. Check out my post on it for more details but basically it is brewed black coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil. It is Paleo crack... In a good way!

7. Instead of pasta... try steamed vegetables

This may seem boring but it sure beats the post-meal crashes, bloating and moodiness I used to get after eating pasta. 

Next time you cook up a Paleo bolognese sauce with beautiful grass-fed beef (and bacon) try steaming some broccoli and cauliflower and using that as a pasta substitute. I also really like to use Brussels sprouts. Make sure you add some olive oil or butter to the steamed veggies to maximize nutrient-absorption... and taste. 

8. Instead of sweet snacks... eat 85% cacao dark chocolate

If you haven't noticed I have an (un)healthy addiction to dark chocolate. The stuff is amazing. 85% cacao dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, magnesium and healthy fats. The mouthfeel is pure decadence and once you get used to the intensity of near pure cocoa it is the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. 

Whenever you have cravings try eating about 15-30g of the stuff and you should be good to go. Try not to eat as much dark chocolate as I do though or you may have to check yourself in to CA (Chocoholics Anonymous).  

Food is like sex - it is enjoyable for reasons that transcend its practical function. So indulge guilt-free in good quality, healthy and enjoyable foods - preferably shared with friends and family - and you'll be better off for it!

PS - Please subscribe by email to receive these posts straight in your inbox. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I've been in the routine of skipping breakfast and instead downing a ‘Bulletpoof Coffee’ first thing in the morning. Bulletproof coffee (BPC) is a phenomenon sweeping the Paleo/Primal/Low Carb world at the moment. 

It was invented by bio-hacker Dave Asprey who, although he sells a lot of expensive and unnecessary supplements on his online store, is a super intelligent dude who puts out a lot of great free information and is one of my most respected health gurus. 

Dave’s podcast Bulletproof Executive Radio is one of the best out there. He is a keen interviewer and attracts the most interesting and relevant guests week after week. I listen religiously. 

Apparently Dave first came up with the idea of putting fat in his coffee after a trip to Tibet where he noticed the locals adding Yak butter to their tea, tried it, and noticed a significant boost in his cognitive function. 

So what is this magic stuff?

Basically you brew some high quality (e.g. single origin, water processed, chemical-free beans grown at altitude) coffee - Dave recommends his own 'Upgraded Coffee' of course. I use organic, single source beans from the best source I can find, which I brew in an Aeropress. 

French Press is Dave’s brew method of choice. Any filter method will work well (drip, pour-over, Clover, etc) and you could even use espresso coffee such as a long-black/Americano. However, I think the higher absolute caffeine content of a full cup of filter coffee adds to the buzz. 

Once the coffee is brewed, decant it into a blender - I pour it into a beaker and use a stick blender. Add 10-30g of UNSALTED grass-fed butter and 5-25mL of MCT oil (start on the lower end). If you don’t have MCT oil you can substitute regular coconut oil but as Dave and many other people have noted, you won’t get the same cognitive and energy-boosting effects from the more concentrated shorter-chain fats in MCT oil. Blend for 5-15 seconds until creamy. Enjoy. (Bathroom sprint x 1 rep).

WARNING - MCT/Coconut oil can have a strong laxative effect if you aren’t used to it. This effect is multiplied when consumed with caffeine, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach! Start very small with the butter and MCT/coconut oil and titrate up over a number of days. As your body becomes used to a bolus of readily absorbed fat in the morning this laxative effect will wane. 

I was skeptical at first about Bulletproof Coffee. It seems utterly absurd to add 10-50g of pure fat to black coffee, blend and drink. Conventional dietitians and doctors would have a heart attack just at the thought of it! However, when you experience the amazing cognitive buzz, satiety, and sustained energy for many hours after, it is hard to deny the fact that it works extremely well. I am still amazed at my newfound productivity in the mornings since adopting BPC into my daily schedule. 

Why I think it works…
I have Bulletproof Coffee instead of breakfast, and often don’t eat for 3-6 hours thereafter. With my typical 20g butter + 20mL MCT oil this is a nice little 360 calorie dose of fat. As there is no protein or carbohydrate it does not raise blood sugar or insulin, meaning there is no mid-morning blood sugar crash. 

Furthermore, MCT/coconut oil helps boost ketone production, maximizing your ability to tap into this fuel source and, in a way, continue your overnight fast. Add to this the fat-burning and stimulant effects of caffeine and it starts looking like a potent little morning cocktail for those looking for productivity and fat loss. 

Not for the feint-hearted…
Please understand that Bulletproof Coffee - the “biohack” du jour - has no real scientific backing as yet, although I think Dave is working on some research. There is a small chance that I’ll look back one day, laughing, and say, “Holy crap! I can’t believe I used to drink saturated fat for breakfast!” 

But I doubt it. As a caffeine addict, coconut oil lover (I literally rub it into my skin) and butter fiend, Bulletproof Coffee is the next logical step in my crazy quest for optimal health. 

Is BPC for you? 
Before you jump headlong into the BPCC (Bulletproof Coffee Cult) and start drinking hundreds of calories of fat for breakfast you may want to take a look at the rest of your diet. If it isn't so "bulletproof" - that is, you are eating a lot of refined carbohydrates, sugar and other crap - then perhaps adding so much fat to your mornings is not the best idea. 

Then again if you are otherwise healthy and tolerate fat well, given BPC's magical powers of suppressing hunger and cravings and the thousands of testimonials from people saying they've lost a bunch of weight since incorporating it, The Paleo Model sure isn't going to stop you getting in on this whacky biohack! 

Try it with caution and let me know how it goes… #bulletproofcoffee 

UPDATE (Feb 2015):

Even though I continue to consume BPC on occasion - probably once or twice a week at most - I am still skeptical about the possible long term effects. It continues to grow in popularity and I am not surprised why - it is convenient, addictive and it really does have astounding positive effects when it comes to both satiety and mental performance. However, I am seeing more and more backlash against BPC from other ancestral health experts. 

The major argument against BPC is that even though butter and MCT oil both have some beneficial properties, they are relatively energy-dense and nutrient-poor compared to eating real foods. This begs the question, are you really doing yourself any favor by drinking pure fat for breaking or would you be better off eating a real breakfast of, for example, eggs, kale and avocado. 

And if you wish to intermittent fast why not just have black coffee and not interrupt the fast with a large bolus of fat?

While I don't have the answer to these questions I do encourage you to consider how often you consume BPC and to continue to track your lipids in case you are a hyper-responder to dietary fat and therefore risk a substantial increase in your LDL-C and lipoprotein particle number. 

Personally, I will continue to use BPC as an occasional supplement rather than an every day ritual. 

Here is the MCT oil that I swear by and I'm pretty sure it's just as good as Asprey's... and about half the price!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Salad Mountain: My Everyday Lunch

I eat a massive salad pretty much every day for lunch. It is usually my first real meal of the day and often it is after training so I like to make it very substantial.

The photos really don't do justice to the size and density of this salad mountain. Honestly I think it would weigh about 1kg (2.2lb). It only takes me around five minutes to make, depending on which vegetables I have to wash and chop.

It is very low carb, moderate protein and moderate fat and absolutely packed with micronutrients, especially when the ingredients come fresh from the farmers' market.

The base is always the same - it is purely a filler - mainly watery vegetables with basically no caloric content but plenty of soluble fiber, nutrients and pre-biotics:

  • Mixed organic green leaves
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Diced red cabbage
  • Grated carrot
  • Peppers/capsicum
  • Cucumber
  • Raw or lightly steamed broccoli, cauliflower or kale (or other leftover veg)
The protein source varies but typically I opt for seafood, with the most common being a can of (pole-caught) tuna in olive oil. Other favorites include:

  • Wild caught salmon
  • Prawns/shrimp
  • Sardines
  • Leftover meat (pork, beef or chicken)
  • Roast chicken
  • Boiled eggs (2-3, preferably pasture-raised from a local small farm)
I don't go too crazy on the protein. I think 20g as a minimum and 40g as a maximum is totally sufficient for me, espiecally if I've had a post-workout meal or shake containing protein. 

The remainder of the calories from this salad come from the liberal addition of quality fats. The real beauty of this salad is that it is satiating, nutrient-dense and gives me the energy I need to last the often 4-6 hours until dinner. This is the case because I add upwards of 50g of fat to it in the following forms:

  • Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Dressing: 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper)
  • Avocado (1/2, chopped)
  • Olives
  • Shredded dried coconut
  • Nuts (e.g. half a handful of chopped raw almonds or walnuts)
  • Bacon 
The last three items would be considered more of a condiment than a main ingredient. 

Finally, if I want some more carbohydrates (or have any leftover) I will throw in some roast or steamed sweet potato or yams. 

HOT TIP: Any good salad is made with love, but more importantly it is MIXED BY HAND. Get your hands dirty and feel the goodness. No tongs can compare to a (clean) pair of human hands. Trust me, it makes a difference to the taste and is satisfying to get intimate with your food... but not in an 'American Pie' kind of way.

Related Posts:

Concerned about mercury in your fish? Read Fat Eggs, Rabbit Starvation and the Mercury Myth
To see a full run down of my typical day read My Ideal Paleo Eating Day
To explain why good fats should be friend not foe read Eat More Fat!

Sharing is caring!

Please tell a friend about The Paleo Model, share my Facebook page or your favorite post, subscribe via email or add me on twitter and I'll be able to help more people. I love hearing from you guys so send your feedback or questions to [email protected] and i'll do my best to get back to you.

"Eat Paleo. Train. Live Life."

Salad Mountain example with leftover beef and dried seaweed

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Eating Out - Paleo Lunch for $10

One of my favourite things about New York City is the accessibility of food - some of it very healthy and affordable if you're willing to seek it out. 

I often make my own salad from the Whole Foods' Salad bar, or even a standard deli if I'm in a pinch.

Usual suspects in this salad are nutrient and energy dense foods that don't weigh a lot (salad bars are charged per pound) - a base of mixed greens, some red onions, shredded carrot or beets, avocado, olives, a sprinkling of nuts or seeds, generous lugs of olive oil and a dash of balsamic and lemon juice. 

Because protein options at most salad bars are on the cheap/crappy end of the quality spectrum I will often grab some canned seafood to throw in - such as tuna, sardines or in this case smoked kipper. With over 2g of omega-3 and 19g of protein it's incredible bang for your buck. 

Now this may look like a light salad but given the oily fish, avocado, olives and my heavy-handed olive oil pour I could be getting upwards of 50g of quality fats in this salad, which will keep me satiated until my next meal. 

If you can't or won't "do" canned fish then a couple of boiled eggs or some chicken will sub in nicely and not break the bank.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Coconut Crusted Fish

Coconut crusted flounder w/ steamed broccoli + side salad of mixed greens, avocado, red onion and capsicum (red peppers)

This is pretty basic stuff so I'm not going to bother with a recipe, just some bullet points:

  • take any thin white fish fillets such as flounder, sole, etc.
  • on a plate or flat surface sprinkle about half a cup of dried/desiccated coconut and some salt and pepper and dried chili flakes if you so wish
  • coat/roll/pat/rub the fish in the dry mix to get it to stick as well as possible (of course some will come off as you aren't using egg or batter as an adhesive)
  • heat a pan on a medium-low heat with a generous amount of grass-fed butter or coconut oil (or a mix)
  • slowly cook the fish a few minutes on each side depending on the thickness
  • thank me later for this amazing Paleo dish

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Paleo Coconut Pancake Recipe

This is a really simple, go-to delicious paleo breakfast or dessert. 

Nutrition info:
  • moderate to high fat (30g)
  • moderate protein (15-20g)
  • moderate to low carb (15g-20g)