Tag Archives: Paleo

Ghee: The Gift of The Gods

Ghee is truly a gift from the Gods! I have to say that as an Indian, this is a huge staple in my diet. When my mom was a young girl, everything in their house was fried in coconut oil or ghee. That was just the way they rolled back then. I liked their style!

See my YouTube video oh the benefits of Ghee.

I know there is a huge misconception that is fat is bad, that is whack (sorry, I just had to go there.) Please refer to my previous post on butter (which includes my recipe for butter chicken) for further information.

While I have you here, I want to break down the main reasons ghee is amazing (aside from the fact it tastes amazing!)

High Smoke Point (250 °C  482 °F).
This means that it won’t break down when cooking and you get to keep all of the benefits of it. Compare this to extra virgin olive oil which has a smoking point of 207°C, 405°F.

Here is a list of oils and smoke points, just so you are fully educated.

Oil
Smoke Point
Grape Seed
485ºF or 252ºC
Avocado
480ºF or 249ºC
Sesame
410ºF or 210ºC
Canola
400ºF or 204ºC
Macadamia
385ºF or 196ºC

 

Not Going Bad Anytime Soon
They have discovered ghee in temples in Indian that are a few decades old and it is still good. Unlike butter, ghee has been cooked down and the milk solids removed so it won’t go bad any time soon. I don’t recommend that you store it away for years but it can stand on your counter and still be good for a few months, don’t worry- it won’t last that long.

Fat is PHAT!
Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. What does this mean for you?

Ghee has good fats in it which can raise HDL (good) cholesterol just as much, if not more, protecting the body from the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are fatty acids that are naturally found in “super foods” such as coconuts, palm oil, and ghee. What are MCTs and what does it mean for you?

These smaller chain lengths means that the fats are readily absorbed by the liver and more quickly metabolized so you get faster fuel. These fats aren’t turned into fat. Learn more about MCTs here.
Lactose Intolerant? No Worries!
Because ghee has been cooked down from butter, it no longer contains the milk solids which cause your allergies. You can now indulge without guilt!

Nutritious As Well As Delicious
Contains oil soluble vitamins, A D and E.

Vitamin A:
Important for your eye development.
Creates skin, hair and mucous membranes and keeps everything in working order.
Strengthens your immune system.
Develops bones, teeth and epithelial cells.

Vitamin D:
Helps with calcium and phosphorous absorption.
Regulates calcium movement from bone to blood.
Helps prevent osteoporosis.

Vitamin E:
A potent antioxidant.
Protects the fats that outline ever cell in our body.
Protect fats from free radical damage before we eat them.

Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9, nine phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals.

Go Grass Fed

Grass-fed butter (which is turned into ghee) has been shown to contain K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) that have anti-viral properties.

Recent research indicates that CLA may help prevent and even fight cancer cells and also help in the mitigation of type II diabetes. This isn’t found in normal butter, so go organic to get these benefits and more!

GHEE
Yield: Less than 1lb
INGREDIENTS

1 pound of organic, grass-fed unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

Place the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring it to a soft boil from medium-high heat. Allow the butter to boil for 2-3 minutes then turn the heat down to medium.

Foam will form on the top and then disappear.

A second layer of foam will appear, this will be about 8-10 minutes into the process.

The butter will become a beautiful golden color, this is an indicator that the process is complete. Milk solids will brown and sink to the bottom of the pan, keep a close eye because it doesn’t take much for it to burn.

Allow it to cool for a bit and strain out the milk solids and keep the ghee in a metal or glass container.

I like my ghee a bit darker, it is a personal preference for a nice burnt butter flavor. That is why mine is a much deeper color, play with the timings until you find what you like.

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Paleo/Low-Carb Lifestyle: The Basics

There is so much associated with starting a new lifestyle, notice how I didn’t say diet. Diet implies a change until you reach your goal and then you go back to the way you were living. This will never work if you think of it as a diet because you will go back to what made you unhealthy and fat and the yo-yoing begins.

So, commit to this. This is a change for the rest of your life.

Here is my YouTube intro video to the Paleo/Low-Carb lifestyle.

STEP 1: EDUCATING YOURSELF
Before you start any diet, you should get blood-work done and see what your starting point it, consult your doctor because I am not one. I do not play one on tv and do not want to be one. Sorry mom and dad.

If you want to learn about these lifestyles, may I recommend that you start at the bookstore/library?

Paleo
The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy
by Mark Sisson

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
by William Davis

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body
by Sarah Ballantyne

Low-Carb
Here is a link to the top books on Amazon. I prefer the Atkings and Keto based books as a source of education to understand the process.

STEP 2: WHAT SHOULD YOU BE EATING
To start a healthy lifestyle, begin by determine your macros. What are macros? “To macro” means to track the number of grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you consume. Determining how much your body needs is important too, if you can’t understand your resting metabolic rate, you will never understand what your body naturally burns and how much fuel it requires.

We can all guess what our daily intake is but until you spend time tracking it, you will never know. I personally fund this step to be shocking. When I first started this food journey, I realized that I had no idea what a serving size was. I also grossly underestimated my daily intake. Tracking my daily food intake allowed me to see that I was not eating enough fats and that my protein levels were way too high. Making these small changes helped me get back on track and eventually led to losses.

If you are interested in trying the low-carb lifestyle, use this macro calculator or as they call it, the keto calculator.

Keto Calculator

If It Fits Your Macros Calculator

If you want to follow the Paleo lifestyle, I recommend using the following macro calculator.

STEP 3: THE ORGANIC LIST
Like I mentioned in the video, you can choose what foods to buy organic. The Environmental Working Group has a great article that identifies the top foods that should be purchased organic and it can be found here.

To this list, I add organic free-range eggs as well as organic grass-fed meats.

STEP 4: WHAT TO EAT
Now that you have been fully educated about the foods and how our body reacts to them, it is time to hit the grocery store, here is a list of the staples in my kitchen that I could not live without. Whenever possible or when financially feasible, go for the organic option.  Read the labels and look for foods with no additives, sugars or unknown items.

I know it can be confusing but sugars come in many forms and can be called many different things, here is a comprehensive list of the various names sugar goes by and anything ending in an -ose is usually a sugar derivative. So, avoid at all cost!

Here are two sites that provide a great list of foods to buy:
Ketogenic Diet Resources
Atkins Phase 1

Here is my personal list of items I can’t live without:
Aged Vermont Cheddar Cheese (my favorite)
Organic Heavy Whipping Cream
Organic Pork Rinds
BodyLogix Whey Protein Powder
Organic Raspberries
Organic Blueberries
Organic Spinach
Frozen Organic Kale (for smoothies)
Avocados
Organic Grass-fed Butter
Organic Butter
Coconut Flour
Almond Meal
Organic grass-fed beef
Sugar-free, dextrose free bacon or pork belly
Coffee
Organic Free-range Eggs
Now Foods Organic Liquid Glycerite Stevia
MCT Oil
Organic Coconut Oil
Organic Coco Nibs

STEP 5: TRACKING IT ALL
Now that you know what to eat and how much your body needs, let’s start tracking everything. Here are some amazing sites that will help you along your way.
My Fitness Pal
Fit Day
Cronometer

STEP 6: WORK OFF THAT FOOD
Eating is just half the battle, now start moving! I personally love going to classes, yoga, riding my bike or rock climbing. You should try to workout at least 2-5 times a week. You can start out with walks, hitting the gym for 30 minutes or anything you like. The important part is starting to get active and staying active!

The apps that I mentioned above will help you stay on track by calculating your input and output. Please make sure you are eating enough, that is a rookie mistake that many people make. They think that by cutting their calories further, they will lose more weight. You will actually cause your body to go into starvation mode and stop burning calories and actually store them.

I think that is an amazing start for anyone!

This Empty Plate’s YouTube Channel

I am so proud to announce the debut of my YouTube Channel. I wanted to take our relationship one step further, I know it isn’t always convenient to read lengthy recipes and with the more complicated recipes, it is nice to see how I prepare them. Your feedback was received and thanks to your help, my page is debuting.
So, please go here and subscribe to my page, while you are at it, I think you should subscribe to all my social media outlets (which conveniently can be found below.)

What can you expect?
Exciting new recipes that show you how to customize to your palette and diet.

Get educated about food, ingredients and the benefits of what you are eating. I will do all the research for you!

Other ways you can follow me:
Pinterest
Facebook
Twitter

Fourth of July

I love everything that Independence Day stands for: reaffirming your commitment to freedom, Fourth of Julyliberty and the freedom of choice. What a beautiful concept.

As I celebrate everything else in life, I celebrate this wonderful holiday with the fs: food, friends and family.

I have compiled together all of my favorite recipes to make your Independence Day gathering that much easier. You can find all of my recipes on Pinterest.

What about decorating? I like to keep it very simple when it comes to cookout decorations. Leave out huge bowls filled with raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream. This will run the center of the table and place the desserts and appetizers at the center on top of cake stands of varying sizes. This keeps the gathering communal because it forces everyone towards the food, then they can sit down and make some new friends. Also, this makes cleanup so easy because you don’t have to worry about pulling up the decorations and putting them away. I am a huge fan of simplistic beauty.

Regardless of what you make, who you spend the day with or what you do; please remember one thing. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have so many rights that have been fought for and preserved by countless men and women. Remember to thank a veteran for their service. Happy Independence Day!

 

Perfectly Crispy Pork Belly

I adore bacon but I can’t stand to buy bacon from the store. Have you ever read the labels? There are preservatives and sugars (dextrose being one) that are not good for human consumption. I prefer to make my own which is actually cheaper. I go to the local butcher shop and buy Pork Belly which is bacon. The butcher is kind enough to slice it to my preferences (thick-cut all the way baby!) In Uncooked Pork BellyChicago, I found organic bacon for $4.99 which is the same price as pre-sliced treated bacon that isn’t even organic. So, this is a better deal and so much healthier!
Ingredients
1 pound pork belly (aka bacon)
black pepper
salt

Directions
Place the oven rack right in the center.

Line a baking sheet with foil and leave excess foil so it hangs over the pan, this will keep the bacon grease from dripping onto the pan.

You can use a cooling rack on top of the foil to get the crispiest bacon. If you would like to do this, spray the cooling rack and place it on the foil.

Place the cut pork belly on the foil or on the cooling rack. Place the pork belly in a single layer and do not allow it to overlap. I like to add pepper to my bacon at this point to give it added flavor.Perfectly Crispy Pork Belly

Turn the oven on 400 degrees F, it is very important that you do not preheat the oven. You will be placing the bacon in a cold oven.

Cook the bacon for 12-17 minutes. The cooking time will depend on how thick you back was cut. I prefer to have thick cut bacon, you should start looking in on your bacon at the 10 minute mark. Do not open the oven, just turn on the oven light. Once the bacon looks golden brown, remove it from the oven. Remember that it will continue to cook even outside of the oven so if you let it get brown it will only brown further, which you don’t want.

Place the bacon on a paper towel to absorb the grease and cool off, you can also place it on a clean cooling rack if you desire. I like to salt the pork belly at this point.

Save the bacon grease for cooking eggs or meat. It should not be wasted.

TIPS
The oven should not be preheated, you will be placing the bacon into a cold oven.

To freeze the bacon: undercook the bacon a bit, freeze it after cooling off. When it is time to cook the bacon, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high and you will have perfectly cooked bacon.

Remove the bacon immediately after cooking. The bacon will continue to cook from the residual heat that it holds within but you don’t want it to continue cooking from the heat that comes off of the baking sheet.

For the non-low-carbers, you can sprinkle some brown sugar or dip the bacon in maple syrup before baking. This makes a great variation.

Coconut Lace Cookies with Berries

Lace Cookies with BerriesThis cookie is so simple to make, it is so elegant and has a great crisp and light flavor. I have to say, it is pretty amazing.

Cookie Ingredients
1/2 cup sifted almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup equivalence of stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cookie Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.In a bowl combine together the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, coconut flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.) I like a smooth cookie so I will run the dry mixture through my food processor, you don’t have to do this.

In another bowl combine together the wet ingredients (coconut oil, cream, butter, stevia and vanilla. Mix with a hand-mixer until everything has been incorporated together.

Add the dry mixture in three installments and blend into the wet mixture.
Using a 3/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, drop the batter onto the baking sheet. Try to go for consistency in shape, do not overcrowd the sheets. There should only be 12 per sheet. Keep in mind that the batter will spread as it bakes making a thin cookie, so keep this in mind.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.Check frequently because they burn quickly!!!
Allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes so they harden enough so you can transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Dessert Ingredients
14 cookies
2 cups of mixed berries
1 cup whipped cream
Dessert Directions
This makes 4 desserts.Place a cookie on the bottom of the plate, cover with a little whip cream and place berries on top, continue this with 3 more layers.

Cooking 101: Stovetop Parmesan Herb Chicken

I love recipes that can be made in a single pot, that means less cleaning for me. It also means that I can store the food in the same pot that I made it in. Yeah, I really am that lazy!Cooking 101: Stovetop Parmesan Herb Chicken

The touch of fresh herbs and Parmesan Cheese really adds flavor and depth to this simple chicken dish. I love this because you can change the flavor around by just adding different herbs, once you get the basic idea down, try incorporating whatever you like into the recipe.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 family pack of chicken breast or chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/4 tablespoon fresh chives
1/4 tablespoon thyme
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon chives

Directions
Melt the butter in a large pan, I like to use a dutch oven.

Add the chicken and sprinkle half of the salt, garlic powder and pepper.

Brown the chicken on one side for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.

Sprinkle the salt, garlic powder and pepper on the second side and cook until golden brown for 4-5 minutes.

Add the fresh rosemary, chives and thyme to the chicken and allow it to cook for another 30-40 minutes. Take and cut a piece towards the outside of the pan in the center to ensure it is fully cooked.

Sprinkle the chicken with the Parmesan cheese and the remaining chives.

Serve with some delicious vegetable sides.