Kirstin's Own Web Page Devoted to Basics for a Healthy Diet
Preambling right along here...
First off I am going to assume that you haven't got the very rare condition that makes you allergic to animal protein - if you are in that boat then we will have to start exploring solutions from scratch.
The first thing we have to understand is that we have evolved to do best on meat from animals and fish. This includes eggs, which are very nearly a perfect food for us. We can get ALL the essential nutrients that keep us healthy from a diet based on animals alone. Virtually all animals are edible for us and only a very few have poisons in them that make them toxic to us and other animals. You often can recognise these by the bright colours they display as a warning they may not be tasty and are, in fact, life threatening. Most animals protect themselves from us by being able to run, fly or swim faster than us - or by having big sharp teeth and claws.
The second thing to understand is that ALL plants have toxins in them which can cause us problems. They have developed these as a protection against being eaten. The toxins are found in the skin of plants, in the leaves, in the stalk and in the roots. The exception is fruit, which the plant has developed to allow animals to help it propagate by spreading its seeds - note that the seeds themselves are indigestible to us and may also contain toxins. Being the inventive bunch that we are, however, has seen us figuring out how to process some of these things in order to be able to digest and thereby obtain some nutrition out of them. This doesn't mean we've figured it out though and we are gradually finding that wheat, for example, has bits that may appear to be ok for us in the short term, but turn out to get us in the end. (Wheat is a grass and has evolved to spread itself by having its seeds blow around in the wind - it doesn't require us or other animals to survive).
We have, during the last 15,000 years of agriculture, learned to tolerate some plants by soaking them, sprouting them, boiling them and otherwise removing some of the most toxic bits. Nevertheless, plants have taken their toll on us and we now have shorter and more brittle bones, higher incidence of tooth decay and smaller brains than our hunter/gatherer ancestors. Over the last 200 years we have managed to make many refinements so that we can store and transport food more easily - unfortunately this seems to have coincided with increased incidences of 'diseases of civilisation' - cardiac problems, diabetes, cancers, dementias, autoimmune conditions - many of which may be associated with obesity. Doctors and scientists have been applying considerable effort into working out what has been causing these things and about 50 years ago one of them managed to convince the world that it was saturated fat that was the culprit for heart disease. Since then we have been reducing it in our diet in favour of oils from vegetables and seeds and guess what? All of those 'diseases of civilisation' have been getting somewhat out of hand.
I contend that we are protected somewhat by saturated fat from animals against some of the harm that can be caused by vegetables. Don't get me wrong, many of us can well tolerate vegetables in our diet and they can be a source of variety - just not ESSENTIAL. On the other hand, there are some ESSENTIAL proteins and ESSENTIAL fatty acids for which the best and most bio-available sources are animal in origin. There is no scientific study that shows that carbohydrates are ESSENTIAL. See Georgia Ede's excellent website for information about what is what in the food departments.
Very important. If you have not got regular sun exposure (free of sunblock) then you will not be producing enough vitamin D. You will have to supplement. The paradox is that in very hot countries you may be covering up and therefore exposing yourself to the dangers of vitamin D deficiency. Of course I know that my niece is a dedicated follower of sunshine - just make sure that you don't use sunblock - get the exposure gradually and don't burn. Don't be afraid of the sun! Here is a good link to a discussion of the importance of D.
What is right for Kirstin?
I'm going to make another assumption here that you are a healthy weight for your height and not overweight. If you are unsure just measure your waist at bellybutton level and compare the measurement to your height. If the waist measurement is less than half of your height you are fine and weight doesn't have to be a consideration in what you eat. Once you are eating according to the following you will just naturally maintain a healthy weight and hopefully your autoimmune conditions will clear up as a matter of course. Main rules are to eliminate all wheat and grain products from your diet and minimise sugar to that contained in the occasional fruit. This may create some cravings at first but you should take note of any improvements in your general health and mood while you go off breads and pasta etc. (Give it at least a couple of weeks to get over the withdrawal - which could include a bit of flu-like symptoms and maybe lethargy.) Some of the following information is optimised for people trying to lose weight but it is essentially the basis for a healthy way of life. You've already told me that some of the fruit and vegetables might be a bit suss, but I'm hoping you can get good sources of meat, fish, eggs etc.
Eat all you like
Meat: Any type, including beef, pork, game meat, chicken, etc. Feel free to eat the fat on the meat as well as the skin on the chicken. If possible try to choose organic or grass fed meat.
Fish and Shellfish: All kinds: Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring are great. Avoid breading.
Eggs: All kinds: Boiled, fried, omelettes, etc. Preferably choose organic eggs.
Natural Fat, High-Fat Sauces: Using butter and cream when you cook can make your food taste better and make you feel more satiated. Try a Béarnaise or Hollandaise sauce, check the ingredients or make it yourself. Coconut oil and olive oil are also good options.
Vegetables that Grow Above Ground: All kinds of cabbage, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, olives, spinach, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, avocado, onions, peppers, tomatoes etc.
Dairy products: Always select full-fat options like real butter, cream (40% fat), sour cream, Greek/Turkish yogurt and high-fat cheeses. Be careful with regular milk and skim milk as they contain a lot of milk sugar. Avoid flavored, sugary and low-fat products.
Nuts: Good to eat instead of candy in front of the television (preferably in moderation).
Berries: Okay in moderation, if you are not a super strict or sensitive. Good with whipped cream.
Boiled eggs mashed with butter, chopped chives, salt and pepper
A piece of brie cheese and some ham or salami
High-fat yoghurt with nuts and seeds (and maybe berries)
Lunch and dinner
Meat, fish or chicken dishes with vegetables and a rich full-fat sauce. There are many alternatives to potatoes, such as mashed cauliflower.
Stews, soups or casseroles with low-carb ingredients.
You can use most recipes in cookbooks if you avoid the carbohydrate-rich ingredients. It’s often a good idea to add fat (e.g. butter, cream) to the recipe.
Drink water with your meal or (occasionally) a glass of wine.
Snacks When you eat a low-carbohydrate diet with more fat and a bit more protein you will probably not need to eat as often. Don’t be surprised if you no longer need to snack. Many people do well on two or three meals per day. If you need a snack:
Rolled-up cheese or ham with a vegetable (some people even spread butter on cheese)
A piece of cheese
A boiled egg from the refrigerator
Canned mackerel in tomato sauce
Olives and nuts can replace potato chips in front of the TV. If you always get hungry between meals you’re probably not eating enough fat. Don’t fear fat. Eat more fat until you feel satisfied.
Dining out or meals with friends
Restaurants: Usually not a big problem. You can ask to have potatoes/fries switched for a salad. With meat dishes, ask for extra butter.
Fast food: Kebab can be a decent option (preferably avoid the bread). In hamburger chains the hamburgers are usually the least bad option. Avoid soft drinks and fries, obviously. Drink water. Pizza toppings are usually OK, and the stricter you are the less of the pizza crust you will eat.
If you eat strictly everyday it’s less of a problem to make a few exceptions when you are invited out. If you’re not sure what will be served you can eat something at home before you leave.
Nuts or cheese is good “emergency food” when there are no other adequate options to be found.
Shopping list for beginners
Heavy cream (40% fat)
Sour cream (34% fat)
Meat (minced, steaks, stew pieces, fillets, etc.)
Fish (preferably fatty fish like salmon or mackerel)
Place the eggs in cold water and boil 4 minutes for soft-boiled or 8 minutes for hard-boiled. Eat them with mayo if you like.
Fry eggs in butter on one or both sides. Add salt and pepper.
Melt some butter in the frying pan and add 2 eggs and 2-3 tablespoons of cream per serving. Add salt and pepper. Stir until done. Add some chives and grated cheese on top. Serve with fried bacon.
Make an omelet batter with 3 eggs and 3 tablespoons of cream. Add salt and spices. Melt butter in the frying pan and pour in the batter. When the omelet solidifies on top you can fill it with something tasty. For example one or several kinds of cheese, fried bacon, fried mushrooms, good sausage (read the ingredients) or left-overs from last night’s dinner. Fold the omelet in half and serve with a crispy salad.
Instead of bread Will you have a hard time living without bread? Ooopsies are a good option. It’s a “bread” without carbs and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Oopsies 6–8 depending on size. 3 eggs 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cream cheese a pinch of salt ½ tablespoon fiberhusk / psyllium seed husks (can be excluded) ½ teaspoon baking powder (can be excluded)
Separate the eggs, with the egg whites in one bowl and the egg yolks in another.
Whip the egg whites together with the salt until very stiff. You should be able to turn the bowl over without the egg whites moving.
Mix the egg yolks and the cream cheese well. If you choose, add the psyllium seed husk and baking powder (this makes the Oopsie more bread-like).
Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mix – try to keep the air in the egg whites.
Put 6 large or 8 smaller oopsies on a baking tray.
Bake in the middle of the oven at 150° C (300° F) for about 25 minutes – until they turn golden.
You can eat Oopsies as bread or use them as a bun for a hotdog or hamburger. You can also put different kinds of seeds on them before baking them, for instance poppy, sesame or sunflower seeds. One big Oopsie can be used for a swiss roll: Add a generous layer of whipped cream and some berries. Enjoy.
Instead of potatoes, rice, pasta
Mashed cauliflower: Divide the cauliflower into smaller pieces and boil them with a pinch of salt until soft. Remove the water. Add cream and butter and mash.
Salads made from above-ground vegetables, perhaps with some kind of cheese. Try out different kinds.
Boiled broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.
Vegetables au gratin: Fry squash, aubergine and fennel (or other vegetables you like) in butter. Add salt and pepper. Put in baking dish and add grated cheese. Heat at 225° C (450° F) until the cheese melts and turns golden.
Vegetables stewed in cream, e.g. cabbage or spinach.
Cauliflower rice: Grate cauliflower, boil for a minute or two. Great substitute for rice.
Snacks and dessert
Sausage: Cut it in pieces, add a piece of cheese and stick a toothpick through them.
Vegetables with dip, Try cucumber sticks, red, yellow or green peppers, cauliflower, etc.
Cream cheese rolls: Roll some cream cheese in a piece of salami, air-dried ham or a long slice of cucumber.
LCHF chips: On a baking tray, form small piles of grated Parmesan cheese. Heat in oven at 225° C (450° F). Let them melt and get a nice color (be careful – they burn easily). Serve as chips, perhaps with some dip.