Category Archives: recipes

superfood salad with liver, seawood and saurkraut

This superfood salad is from Kate Johnson of Eat, Recycle, Repeat and was published as guest blog on Sarah Ballantyne’s Paleo Mom (see recipe here).

It’s the chicken liver and the seaweed along with the sauerkraut, mustard and coconut oil that make this salad so super with a spectacular score in both the vitamins and minerals score as well as the protein quality score.

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The details per 500 calorie serving are listed below.

net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein

fibre

12g

36g 32% 52% 35% 5g

stir fry veggies with sardines

This is a simple  breakfast we’ve been doing at our place lately.

For an speedy pre-work breakfast we buy the veggies pre-chopped from Coles (in a bag) and throw them in the fry pan with some butter.

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For some extra protein and nutrients open a can of sardines when the veggies are done.

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As you can see below, the vitamin and mineral score very well and the protein score is great too!

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The veggies contain some carbs, but not a lot of net carbs once you account for the fibre.  This meal has a nice gentle response on Moni’s (my wife who has Type 1 diabetes) blood glucose levels too.

If you were looking for a more ketogenic approach you could add some more butter in the cooking.  If you were looking to lose weight you could add a bit less.

This recipe comes in at:

The table below shows the nutritional data per 500 calorie serving.

net carbs insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
8g 29g 26% 54% 39g 11g

Some other variations on the theme include, veggies with canned salmon and cottage cheese.

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Or just straight with the almonds, no fish.

 

Moni enjoys this if she’s sick of diary and eggs.

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The table below shows the nutritional data per 500 calorie serving.

net carbs insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
12g 22g 55% 65% 18g 14g

basil pesto

Pesto can be a yummy way to get your get your micronutrients as well as high levels of fat at the same time.

This rustic version comes from Jessica Haggard’s Primal Edge Ketogenic Cookbook.

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Simple to make, it contains basil, pine nuts and olive oil with garlic for extra taste and minerals.

The basil and nuts end up being a carrier for the olive oil.

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The table below shows the nutritional data per 500 calorie serving.

net carbs Insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
3g 6g 53% 92% 5g 2g

 

curried egg with cows brain

Considering how very nutrient dense offal is, it’s been surprisingly hard to find organ meat recipes that do really well in the nutrition ranking because so many of the recipes are ‘diluted’ with lots of sweet stuff to mask the taste.

That is, until Tristan Haggard sent me their long awaited ‘ketogenic edge cookbook‘.

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Tristan and Jessica Haggard from Primal Edge Health moved from California to Ecuador to seek a healthier place to live and raise their family.

Clean water.  More sunshine.  Closer to the equator.

These guys are the real deal.

The recipes in their new cookbook document’s how Jessica lovingly makes sure they ensure they ensure they thrive with their food.  It’s not all offal, but it’s clean, nutrient dense and simple, even when it comes to the deserts.

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This recipe for curried eggs with cows brains does spectacularly  well with the vitamins and minerals as well as the amino acids while still being 68% fat.

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The table below shows the nutritional data per 500 calorie serving.

net carbs Insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
4g 16g 27% 68% 21g 14g

Combining the brains  with the egg, spinach and avocado makes for a pretty unbeatable combination when it comes to nutrient density.  In fact it ranks at:

The only thing really missing from the book is a family photo to show how health these nutrient dense whole foods are making them.  So here you go.

I  also recommend you check out their YouTube Channel, blog and podcast for some pragmatic nutrition and lifestyle advice.

 

Dominic D’Agostino’s breakfast – sardines, oysters, eggs and broccoli

At first it sounds like a bizarre food combination, but when the smartest guy in the room says that he has sardines, oysters, eggs and broccoli as his regular breakfast I wasn’t surprised to find that it scored highly in the nutritional analysis.

Before he started saving the world by progressing Warburg’s mitochondrial theory of cancer and oxygen toxicity seizures for DARPA Dominic D’Agostino studied nutrition and is rumoured to have done some bodybuilding.

Both physical and mental performance are undoubtedly critical to Dom, so it’s not surprising that he is very intentional about what he puts in his mouth to start each day.

As you can see in the plot from Nutrition Data below Dom’s breakfast scores a very high 93 in the vitamins and minerals score and a very solid 139 in the protein score.

You could say this meal was high protein (44%), low carb (10%) and moderate fat (46%), although his fatty coffee and high fat deserts would boost the fat content to make it more “ketogenic”.

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Dom’s breakfast scores well against the 250 meals analysed to date in the meal rankings for different goals coming in at:

  • therapeutic ketosis – 176
  • diabetes and nutritional ketosis – 87
  • nutrient density – 9
  • weight loss – 16

I’ve heard Dom say that he aims for a ‘modified Atkins’ approach with higher protein levels rather than a classical therapeutic ketogenic diet which is harder to stick to and might be used for people with epilepsy, cancer, dementia etc.  It was intriguing to see that Dom’s standard breakfast ranks the highest in nutrient density rather than therapeutic or nutritional ketosis.

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Dom first mentioned his favourite breakfast concoction in his first interview with Tim Ferriss (check out the excellent three hour podcast here).   You can hear the shock and slight repulsion in Tim’s voice in the sound check as he responds with

“Do you blend that up in the Vitamix?”

But now Tim, rather than following his own slow carb approach, has made sardines and oysters a regular breakfast staple and mentions it as one of the top 25 great things he learned from podcasts guests in 2015.

The stats for a 500 calorie serve of Dom’s breakfast are shown in the table below.

net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
6g 38g 18% 46% 44%

6g

oyster20at20ettas

I was aware that broccoli, eggs and sardines are nutritionally amazing, but then the oysters fill out the vitamin and mineral score to take it a little bit higher.  Dom obviously understands the importance of Omega 3s which are hard to get in significant quantities from anything other than seafood.

I was surprised to see that oysters can be ‘carby’ (at 23% carbs) which is apparently due to their glucose pouch which varies in size depending when they’re harvested.

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If you wanted to skip the oysters due to taste or cost considerations, the combination of sardines, egg and broccoli still does pretty well.  This option gives less carbs, a slight decrease in the vitamin and mineral score with an slight increase in the amino acid score.

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The ranking for the sans-oyster option is:

  • therapeutic ketosis –  159
  • diabetes and nutritional ketosis –  67
  • nutrient density –  11
  • weight loss – 20

The stats for a 500 calorie serving are:

net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
3g 30g 10% 48% 44%

6g

The combination of nutrient dense seafood with nutrient dense vegetables is hard to beat.  The chart below shows my comparison of the nutrients in the various food groups in terms the proportion of the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) from 2000 calories (click to enlarge).

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I couldn’t get any photos of Dom’s breakfast, but I did get a photo of my current go to lunch.   Each weekend I get a bunch of good quality celery and chop it up into tubs to take to work each day.  I have cans of mackerel and sardines in my drawer at work.

Celery does really well in terms of nutrient density per calorie and sardines and mackerel are high on the nutrient density lists without being outrageously expensive (e.g. caviar, anchovy, swordfish, trout).

mackerel and celery

When I feel hungry I might start munching on the celery which is pretty filling and hard to binge on.  Then if I’m still hungry I’ll have as many cans of mackerel or sardines as it takes to fill me up (which is usually 2 to 4).

At around 2pm this is my first meal of the day (other than espresso shots with cream) at around 2pm.  If I start to feel hungry before then I might check my blood glucose to see if I really need to refuel or if I think I’m hungry because I’m bored.   I’ll then go home and have an early dinner with the family around 6pm.

I’ve been known to indulge in some peanut butter with, cream, Greek yogurt or even butter if I’m still hungry (e.g. if I’ve ridden to work) but I try to not overdo it as I’m not as shredded as Dom yet.

The simple combination of celery and mackerel also does pretty well in the ranking of 250 meals and aligns well with my current goal of maximising nutrient density and ongoing weight loss now that I’ve been able to stabilise my blood glucose levels.

  • therapeutic ketosis – 137
  • diabetes and nutritional ketosis – 36
  • nutrient density – 16
  • weight loss – 8

net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
8g 33g 25% 51% 35%

6g

salad and salmon lunch

This is one of my favourite work lunches.

We often go to the markets on the weekend and then prepare a bunch of ready made lunches for the rest of the week.

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(note: by “we” I mean my amazing wife Monica who knows how to make healthy food look and taste incredible…  I just tag along, take some photos and enjoy eating it).

This one has chorizo, spinach, cherry tomatoes, beans and a fig.

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We will also make up some little containers of balsamic vinegar or olive oil with perhaps some feta cheese that you can add to it.

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At work I throw a can of salmon, tuna or sardines on it with some balsamic vinegar and viola a spectacularly yummy lunch!

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This meal does well on the nutritional completeness, both in terms of vitamins and amino acids.

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net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein

fibre

6g 27g 22% 58% 34%

3g

More recently I’ve started having sardines instead of the salmon because it’s cheaper and even more nutrient dense.   Together with the salad it gives an even higher protein score.  Tuna is another option but it doesn’t do as well as the sardines or salmon on the vitamins and minerals.

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Sometimes when we don’t get around to doing the salads or taking a lunch I’ll just grab a quick can of the sardines which I’ve grown to like by themselves these days.  They’re filling, cheap and pack quite a nutritional punch all by themselves.

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Jimmy Moore’s slow cooked pork with veggies

Jimmy posted this meal on his Facebook feed a while ago.

Slow cooked pastured pork Boston butt cooked in @BareBonesBroth, local organic kale, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, home garden zucchini, local organic squash, home garden herbs (cilantro, dill, basil), local Garden blend sauerkraut, avocado, grass-fed butter, sea salt, and pepper. #lowcarb#highfat #ketogenic #realfood #howireallyeat

The meal does really well in both the nutrient balance score and the protein quality score while still being fairly high in fat.

The total carbs are up a bit but you’re only looking at about 15g net carbs per 500 calories which is pretty good for most people unless you are really insulin resistant.

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It would be interesting to see how Jimmy does with his ketones and blood sugars after eating something like this.  Over the short term he might see a rise in his blood sugars, however, over the long term the reduced calorie density, higher nutrient density and higher fibre might work really well for him.

As always, if you’re struggling with blood glucose control you should ‘eat to your meter’ and make sure the foods you eat don’t drive up your blood glucose levels too much.

net carbs insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
15g 39g 39% 64% 18%

14g

humans are not broken breakfast

One of the things that inspired me to try this line of nutritional analysis was a post by Angelo Coppola on his blog Humans are Not Broken where he showed that his breakfast tortilla is better nutritionally than Bulletrpoof Coffee.

As an occasional drinker of Bulletproof Coffee, Angelo’s approach to nutritional analysis and comparing two very different meals got me thinking.

Surely it can’t be that simple. I know that something that high in carbs wouldn’t be great for a diabetic like my wife, but at the same time it was clear than his whole food tortilla was going to have a much wider array of nutrients.

I figured the food insulin index might be a useful tool to also consider how particular foods might work for someone who doesn’t ideal blood sugar control.

So anyway, I ran the numbers, and this tortilla wrap has one of the highest nutritional completeness score (based on vitamins and minerals) of any of the meals I’ve analysed.

The downside is that it also has a very high 65% insulinogenic calories and 61g net carbs which is not so good for someone with diabetes.  A type 1 diabetic would need to dose about 4 units of insulin for this meal and would then be on the blood sugar roller coaster for the rest of the day.

What I like about this approach to ranking foods is that it doesn’t have to fall into a particular camp such as LCHF, Atkins, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan etc. It just optimises for nutritious food, and for people who don’t have perfect blood sugar control (which is most of us) manages insulin.

We can say that this meal would be great for someone with great blood glucose control and looking for a nutrient dense option.  With all the fibre and low calorie density this meal would be great for someone looking for fat loss.

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net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
61g 72g 85% 12% 17%

19g

keto chocolate cake in a mug

This keto chocolate cake in a mug is another from Craig Clarke’s Rule.Me site.

This yummy looking dessert is certainly keto at only 4g net carbs due to the high amount of fibre in the coconut, almonds and cocoa.

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Unsweetened cocoa powder is a packed full of minerals and well worth trying to seek out when you have chocolate cravings.

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net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein

fibre

4g 13g 34% 81% 9%

9g

slow-cooked “Heart on Fire” with creamed kale

This recipe for slow cooked “heart on fire” with creamed kale is from Mark Sisson’s blog (see recipe here).

It has a nice range of nutrient dense meat (heart), spices and nutrient dense vegetables.

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Although heart is generally considered to be highly nutrient dense, I have been surprised at how hard it has been to find recipes that involve organ meats. The recipes that I have analysed don’t do spectacularly on the nutrient density rankings, mostly because they use not so good ingredients to mask the strong flavors which means the recipe doesn’t do so well overall nutritionally.

Chicken heart is certainly a nutrient dense meat, however it’s not vastly superior to other complete protein options such as sardines or whole eggs.

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Venturing out to try heart or liver is a great option if you’re into that sort of thing, but not imperative to get good quality protein.

comparison of protein sources

net carbs

insulin load carb insulin fat protein fibre
10g 27g 38% 61% 24%

9g