My nutrition experiments


Magnesium overdose

I sort of overdid it with magnesium supplementation. I was taking 3 teaspoons a night for the past couple of nights with no improvement in my post-gluten dose constipation…until today. While it’s a good thing that episode is ‘cleared up’, I’m in need of a little TLC.

A beef bone hung out in the slow cooker all day with some , ACV, peppercorns, bay leaves and fleur du sel. When I got in this evening, I cooked white rice in the stock and added in the chopped up marrow.

Rice ain’t paleo(TM). But right now, it’s good for my tum.


Fighting stress with whole foods

I got over my little rut of not so ideal eats- not completely off the band wagon, but ice-cream a bit more often than ‘occasional indulgence’ and even some gluten which was disastrous. As long as I have plenty of vegetables and good quality meat on hand, plenty of canned fish for emergency lunches and a couple of eggs in the fridge, it’s all good. I also like to snack on raw milk cheeses these days.

At the moment, there is some organic bacon, beef mince and smoked mackerel in the fridge, and a couple of beef bones in the freezer for making broth during the week. I also picked up some good quality beef dripping for cooking my vegetables in. I am eating lots of potatoes as well as plenty of greens like collards and kale and some root vegetables. After a period of almost fruit avoidance, I am eating apples again as they are coming into season here and also some berries. The format of meals at the moment is potatoes and vegetables with fat (good butter, cream, creme fraiche, cheese or animal fat) and some meat, but not lots. I tried out 2 meals a day for a while and loved it, but only when I wasn’t working. So it’s a good format for weekend eating, but I get very weak if I don’t eat some sort of breakfast before my walk to work.

With plenty of good fats and some carbs, I have no desire to eat crap. I’m still loving the Archevore protocol- I find it the simplest approach to making good choices.

After the gluten episode, I ended up with a nasty bout of constipation. Magnesium for a couple of evenings in a row helped a bit, as did cold potatoes (resistant starch perhaps- when I’m IBS-y other roots and tubers make me gassy) and bone broth. I think eggs sometimes be a bit problematic for me, and certainly if I eat any amount of lean meat. These days my go to choice is lamb.

Recent meals:

Lamb mince, za’atar, cauliflower and some onion and passata, on a bed of lettuce

Venison sausages (gluten free), lettuce, baked potato, plenty of butter and sheep’s cheese

Slow cooked bony lamb bits, raw milk hard cheese

More lamb broth, with grated carrots

Lamb shoulder steak, potatoes boiled and finished in the lamb fat, rocket and beets

Awaiting the Ancestral Health Symposium talks

Before the symposium, I was most looking forward to watching Melissa and Stephan’s talks, but now I’m really curious about Boyd Eaton’s. I have been thinking a lot recently about primitvism and social stability, especially with all the rioting in the streets here in the UK and also in other parts of Europe at the moment (I’m not including the middle East here). Eaton’s points (at least what I’ve gathered from the various AHS summaries I’ve read) are really unfashionable and most people who think that a simpler way of life and perhaps even paternalistic type social structures have any merit usually don’t voice those opinions because it’s dismissed out of hand as nostalgic, romanticised, simplistic, overly idealistic. I am cautious about accepting any romantic casting off of mod cons but I think the topic needs serious (albeit skeptical) consideration, in the same way as we’ve considered ancestral diet. I think other lifestyle factors could bring a lot of benefit to our lives, admittedly harder to implement any actual practices, not to mention how this could contribute to improved sustainability.

Moving to an ancestral diet is something you can do yourself without causing a huge upset around you- obviously if you live in a family unit, especially with limited resources, the effect on others is greater than a singleton with plenty of disposable income. However, living in a similar way to the Indians or Pacifics described in Weston A. Price’s book can probably only happen if the whole of society changes (not going to happen). We can’t all move to the outer Hebrides, and a country like the UK almost certainly couldn’t support everyone living a pastoral lifestyle. We have already built modern cities, housing and infrastructure, it would be utter folly and the completely contrary to any supposed improvement in sustainability to go tearing it all down. So can we implement enough ‘primitivism’ into the modern world to see improvements in quality of life (if indeed there really would be an improvement) or have we gone too far already? Does looking back have anything to offer toward the ills of society in a similar vein to what the paleo/ancestral diet has done for people’s health? Obviously ┬áthe areas of nutrition and health science are separate from the many more fields of research that cover society and the means to change it (sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, politics, economics, environmental science, psychology, to name just the first few that pop into my head).

This is basically my first chaotic few thoughts on this topic, hence I have no citations, but as I gather my thoughts I will maybe back this up with a few links and I intend to write again about this, having gone away to read around the issues. I’m away to find my notes on Hobbes from my political philosophy classes…

In the mean time, though, I’d like to link to Melissa’s post about fertility that I read this morning.

Birthday weekend

Not mine, but my boyfriend’s. I went with a spanish theme as we’re going on holiday to Andalucia in a few week’s and we’ve also been watching Rick Stein’s cooking series in Spain. As much as I love my ancestral diet, I also love really tasty food and a little deviation every now and again is a good reminder that food is about conviviality and pleasure, and not just about optimum nutrition. So there were a few NADs in the meal, but no processed crap.

We had tapas with Tio Pepe sherry to start:

Sourdough smeared with lots of garlic and olive oil, some with anchovies, some with tomato, pickled onions, manchego cheese and some cured spanish meat- chorizo, serrano and lomo, wrinkly black olives with chilli flakes.

A huge paella with mussels and monkfish from the farmer’s market.

And we finished up with an orange baked cheesecake. I just used loads of cream cheese and fromage frais, separated eggs and a few tablespoons of honey, although the base was made with fancy chocolate almond biscotti. Because of the egg white (I think) the surface cracked quite badly, but it was really light and yummy nonetheless- I have lost my touch for baking though!

Happy birthday darling:)

(dished out paella and dessert serving photos courtesy of one of our guests)

Za’atar lamb and roast parsnips

This week I’m going back to three meals as it keeps me a bit better fueled during the working day, although I’m not terribly hungry first thing. I cooked some bacon and had two rashers for breakfast and the other two with avocado, homemade salsa and salad leaves for lunch. The wonderful Tamworth bacon is deliciously fatty, so I poured it into a little dish for later. Tonight I used it to roast some parsnips.

Bacon grease parsnips

A couple of tablespoons of bacon grease (beef dripping is actually nicer if you have it)
A teaspoon of honey (Nigel Slater reckons that despite being quite a sugary root, parsnip’s earthy flavour comes out more with a little sugar)
A sprinkle of nutmeg
1kg parnsips (I used 5)

Chop the parsnip into chunks, roughly about an inch cubed. Boil for 10 minutes. Mix up the bacon grease with the honey and nutmeg, and a little black pepper.

Drain the parsnips, make sure to put the lid back on the pan and shake up a bit to fluff up the edges, this will make the parsnips have nice crispy bits. Heat the bacon grease mix on a preheated tray, then pour on the parsnips, be careful of the hot fat. Three quarters of an hour in a hot oven should do it.

I had mine with organic ground lamb with sauteed with onion, new garlic, grated carrot and parsnip, some tomato paste and lots of za’atar. Please track down this delicious middle eastern mix of sumac, thyme and sesame seeds- it tastes divine with lamb.

I now have loads of tasty vegetabley lamb for tomorrow. As long as I have plenty of good food to hand with no prep required, I can eat well throughout a busy working day, it really helps make it a bit more bearable!

Real Food Weekend

Weekends are what makes it bearable- time to get plenty of sleep, fresh air and make really good food.

We got the messages, errands and cleaning out of the way on saturday morning. I did no cooking, instead I had lots of tasty leftover coconut cabbage and cauliflower with slow cooker roast beef, for both my meals, so good!

Delicious golden gravy with yummy fat globules

I got through Zuzana’s new 300 rep workout in the afternoon, and was a sweaty mess. Hard, but gives you a glow:) We spent the evening curled up by the TV, watching the original True Grit and sipping fancy cider.

This morning I treated myself to some Tamworth unsmoked back bacon that I picked up from Pheasant’s Hill Farm at St George’s farmers market. I had a cool chat with the farmer about the healthiness of saturated fat and favourable PUFA ratios in pastured eggs. This lovely bacon had plenty of the good stuff so there was no need to add any fat to the pan to cook my eggs in. I had the bacon and eggs with my boyfriend’s leftover potatoes and salad leaves.

This set me up nicely for a nice walk up to the Giant’s Ring, a henge monument in the Lagan Valley, south of Belfast.

I spent the afternoon reading, dozing and cuddling up to the boyfriend. Hunger struck at 5, and we had a delicious plate of buttery, cheesey, creamy cod with little waxy organic potatoes from the market and salsa with local tomatoes.

Cod panfried in butter, new garlic and a little onion; a decent splash of double cream, a bit more butter and pecorino romana cheese at the end, also some parsley and black pepper. The salsa was three tomatoes, a few teaspoons of finely chopped onion, garlic and parsley, finally a generous couple of pinches of salt and a few sloshes of apple cider vinegar. I don’t really ‘do’ recipes.

This is turning into John Wayne weekend as we’re going to watch The Shootist later, and I have two very ripe bananas to do something with, probably involving some greek yogurt or double cream and cinnamon:)

Slow cooker love

I couldn’t have bought my slow cooker at a better time. Work is really busy and stressful, the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is cook. A couple of minutes in the morning means a decent dinner in the evening. Especially because I haven’t been eating well during the day, typically not preparing enough to bring with me and then having chocolate in the afternoon to get me through, and then wine in the evenings to calm me down and help me sleep. So a bit of a mixed bag, and I’m looking forward to the weekend to recalibrate a bit. I much prefer two big meals a day, but I don’t have time to eat a big meal late morning/noon while at work, and it knocks me out a bit. By the time I get hungry in the morning, I haven’t time to stop and eat, and I get really crabby and don’t also make the best food choices. Maybe I’ll get my schedule to match my hunger before it drives me insane!

Anyway, my slow cooker made quite a treat out of a beef roast (10 hours on slow, with a few garlic cloves, some tomato paste, herbs de provence and water half way covering the joint). Tonight I had some of the fall-apart meat with some coconutty curried cabbage and cauliflower.

slow cooker roast coconut curried vegetables

I made sure to get some fish this week too, and panfried the salmon this time, as my boyfriend prefers the skin crispy. The potato slices were microwaved first, then roasted in coconut oil and spices.

Here’s to a healthy, stress free weekend!