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  • My Song

    I'm not going to post everything in verse or anything, and if I do sing my posts you can't hear me. But here goes.

    Let's start with a post title.

    Bigos for Breakfast

    I have been trying in the New Year, and that's what I had for breakfast on the first. It's otherwise known as Polish Hunters' Stew. I came across it in Sophie Grigson's book on meat cookery. This is a slightly dodgy book - it suffers from the skim-the-fat-off syndrome and the use-vegetable-oil syndrome - so the recipes are probably a bit non-traditional. But it's good in some ways.

    At least Sophie is quite attractive in a petite blonde dangly-earrings sort of way. And she's nowhere near as bad as the appalling Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He, by the way, now has a book out called "Light & Easy" in which he tells you how to get that there cholestreol you knows you got to worry about down by eating grains and drinking rapeseed oil. Uggh! And Fearnley-Whittingstall started out some years back quite promisingly with raiding the woods and rivers for wild food. Gone to the Dark Side now I'm afraid.

    I had the Sophie Grigson book open, but I actually did my own thing. I had about a pound of beef rib trim, some Sicilian-style all-meat sausages and some bacon. I fried these off in butter (I've got no ghee at the moment). I also put in onions and some soaked dried wild mushrooms as the recipe said. However, I left out the tablespoon of sugar that was in the recipe, but added a dash of tomato puree and a chopped apple to give some sweetness. The recipe called for a couple of pounds of sauerkraut and a similar amount of raw white cabbage. The idea was you rinsed off the sauerkraut and boiled both together for 40 minutes, then simmered everything together for another 40 mins. Too much cabbage. Too much fuss. I just dumped a jar of sauerkraut in without rinsing it - not afraid of salt either, are we? I then added everything else, including wine and a few ounces of well gelatinised beef stock, topped up with a little water and set it in a low oven for two hours. It had a kind of sweet-and-sour taste and was very good. We had that for dinner the day before.

    So breakfast on the 1st was a bowl of that stew re-heated, some Brussels sprouts and a bowl of biodynamic live yoghurt made locally up on Ashdown Forest. I ate the yoghurt with some cream and a teaspoon of raw Welsh honey added. I had some coffee and didn't eat again till evening.

    This strategy is what I'm trying at the moment as part of getting back in trim - eating two meals a day. I have a hearty LCHF breakfast and don't bother to eat again till the evening. It seems to work very well. I certainly don't get hungry.

    I did the same yesterday. Had a bowl of game stew, sprouts again, a large piece of cheese and half a small apple for breakfast. Later I was out on the South Downs walking for a couple of hours, which I enjoyed very much. Almost no one around. Just me in my new Merrell Chameleon lightweight walking shoes (Christmas present), a horse-rider or two and a couple of walkers.

    Dinner yesterday was haggis (Scottish dish made from sheeps' lights and beef heart, liver and suet with oatmeal - OK, there's some oatmeal there, but look at all the wonderful offal in that!) with swede and green beans (plenty of butter on those). I then had a large salad and an ounce or so of nuts. Coffee and dark chocolate to follow. The health education people say eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. I reckon I had five just with my evening meal, since the salad has to be worth 3. This is probably one of the few sensible things health education people do say - mind you, they should say mostly vegetables and easy on the fruit, particularly when it's not in season.

    Have a good day everyone. And have a nice 2015.

  • #2
    Back to Work

    Not such a good day today.

    Got off to a flying start with breakfast. I had some naturally fermented salsa, then a lamb chop with a fried egg, fried mushrooms and some steamed brussels with plenty of butter. I followed that up with ewe's milk cheese and half a small apple and then coffee with cream. Definitely shan't need lunch. :-)

    Feeling pretty good. Still getting in plenty of walking. Walked down to the sea yesterday, seeing plenty of joggers and dogwalkers on the way, but nobody else just strolling. Did some bodyweight exercises and some stretching yesterday, but didn't get in the stair-running or sprinting I'd intended.

    No alcohol. I'm C2H5OH free for January, like a lot of people.


    • #3
      The bitter truth

      Had some Scottish smoked salmon that had peat and heather used in the smoking last night. I guess the wild Alaskan salmon is the best, but I couldn't see any at the time and I have heard that if you're going to get farmed fish, Scottish farmed fish is probably the best in the world. It certainly tasted good, and it did have "high in omega-3" on the packet. Also an avocado, steamed broccoli with plenty of butter, a few slices of salami, and a salad, then an ounce or so of almonds and some coffee.

      I sometimes take some bitters in the evening either before or after my dinner. They're supposed to aid digestion, and I think they probably do - not a bad idea to use some occasionally when upping your fat intake perhaps. I have used the famous Swedish Bitters in the past and also a proprietary blend from a U.S. company called Herb Pharm that comes in a little 1 fl oz dropper-bottle. But it turns out that Scotland has bitters as well as very good salmon. I've just ordered a bottle from an Edinburgh herbal company that has been going since 1860 and has a product called Napiers Best British Bitters Digestif. Napiers says that

      Best British Bitters is a traditional pick-me-up herbal digestif, what we at Napiers would call a "hair of the dog" digestif.

      Take a teaspoonful (5 ml) in a some water, juice or other fluid before indulgence in alcohol and also again on the 'morning after', repeating at half hourly intervals for the next hour if desired. Take several spaced throughout the day to help you get back to normal.

      I don't know how well it would really act on a hangover, but that's what they're saying.


      • #4
        Do as the vikings did

        Here's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post-title. I'm still working on the two meals a day basis - one at 7 in the morning and one at 6 in the evening. There are many patterns of eating, of course, but I'm finding this quite a nice one. On LCHF you don't get hungry with a mere 12 hours or so between meals, and of course, you don't have to take time out to prepare and eat midday, when you might want to be doing something else. The only drawback it seems to me is that if you have a larger meal first-thing than you would do on a 3-meals regimen, you tend to end up with more washing-up to do before leaving home.

        This morning I had a cup of beef broth, some salami, a mushroom omelette, steamed broccoli, cheese and half a small apple, followed by coffee and cream. (I also got down a teaspoon of MCT oil before breakfast, following the David Perlmutter advice to get some coconut oil in - I'm trying MCT oil for a change.) This is a nice way to start the day, but here I ended up having to wipe the omelete pan out and wash and dry plates and cups and the steamer and the pan I sauteed the mushrooms in and the coffee maker. It is fuss. I think this is one of the reasons why people in our post-industrial societies go for fruit juice and toast or skip breakfast and eat at their desks at work - it's notable that many people even nowadays do cook breakfast at the weekend.

        That aside, two meals a day was the norm in Viking-Age Scandinavia:

        The Vikings customarily ate two meals each day. The first, dagmál or "day-meal" was eaten in the morning, approximately two hours after the day's work was started (7 AM to 8 AM or so), while the second, náttmál or "night meal" was consumed at the end of the day's labor (7 PM to 8 PM or so). These times would vary seasonally, depending on the hours of daylight.
        That's interesting. I guess that kind of pattern suits an agricultural society. I guess that may not have been all they ate, since perhaps they took cold food to be eaten in the day with them as a snack, but in any event two meals a day seems to have been the norm. Interesting write-up on food at this time all round here:

        Viking Answer Lady Webpage - Viking Foods

        It seems a fairly wholesome diet. There were several kinds of meat. There was plenty of seafood, these people being great sea-people. There were several kinds of vegetables, some fruit seasonally (most being fairly low-glycemic index fruits), dairy products, fermented foods, hunted and gathered wild food. The staple corn in Viking Age Scandinavia was barley (incidentally korn is actually a Scandinavian word, and entered English through Danish settlement of N.E. England). This obviously isn't an ideal food, but it isn't so high in gluten as wheat.

        In Iceland, the climate being colder, there was virtually no grain at all - and doubtless what there was was used for beer. One Old Icelandic text actually mentions an Icelander who used to dream about bread, because he hadn't seen any for so long! Unsurprisingly, skulls from Early Medieval Iceland have been found to have perfect teeth.
        Last edited by Vainamoinen; 01-07-2015, 02:07 AM.


        • #5
          Hi Vainamoinen! I'm enjoying reading your journal, love the way you eat!
          Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Urban Forager View Post
            Hi Vainamoinen! I'm enjoying reading your journal, love the way you eat!


            • #7
              Ask Prof. Noakes

              I just found this - another podcast I never Knew about and 60 episodes out already. Tim Noakes, author of the Lore or Running, doctor and LCHF expert takes questions from the public:



              • #8
                Let's run the numbers

                I thought I'd try to quantify what I've been doing recently. So I'm going to put my breakfast in Fitday and get the numbers.

                For breakfast this morning I had cold roast beef - an old English breakfast favourite long due for rehabilitation!

                ¼lb cold beef
                1 cup beef broth
                1 fried egg
                naturally fermented salsa
                steamed broccoli
                2 oz cheese
                small tangerine
                coffee with cream

                I also had 1 teaspoon of MCT oil before breakfast. I took about 1 tablespoon of butter, using some to cook the egg, some to put on the broccoli, and just eating the rest neat. I put about 1 tablespoon of double (heavy) cream in my coffee and ate a second for luck.

                I think if you said to most people nowadays, "I had beef and a fried egg and cheese," they'd think you had eaten a huge amount of food. But actually this doesn't add up to a lot. I think the general public doesn't realise that just because something is cooked, or hot, doesn't make it a lot of food. (Cold cereal with skimmed milk, toast and jam, and a large glass of orange juice soon adds up in "energetic" terms.) Since I don't eat lunch, this is in effect one-and-a-half meals for me, anyway.

                So what does that lot add up to? According to Fitday (and remembering that these numbers aren't really accurate), that's 982 calories, comprising about 75g fat, 63g protein, 13g carbohydrate. Percentage-wise that's 68%, 27%, 5%.

                I hadn't even thought about the numbers. So that's interesting. A couple of meals like that, and you're only up to 2000 calories. 27% of protein is more in the paleo range than the normal low-carb range - probably because beef is leaner than, say, bacon. But that works out to rather less carbohydrate than I expected, and probably less than I usually eat.

                By the way, I found out from Prof Noakes' podcast that he usually only eats in the morning and evening. I've now come across several people in the low carb world who do this. It seems to be what farm labourers used to do in the old days, too - get a good breakfast in and eat their main meal in the evening after they finished work. In the day, around 11:30 or 12 these men would knock off, perhaps for an hour, but probably didn't sit down to a meal - they'd have a little cold food that they'd brought in their pocket to work with perhaps a handful of greenstuff given them by the farmer from his kitchen garden, then just sit or lie relaxing, maybe having a smoke and a drink of beer or cider.


                • #9
                  The numbers: part 2

                  I just had coffee at lunchtime. In the evening I had a fairly large, but not massive, dinner.

                  According to Fitday over the day I ate 2,115 calories (8855 KJ).

                  This was comprised of 173g fat, 107g protein, 49g carbohydrate (71%, 21%, 8%).


                  What about the nutrient profile? Here's what Fitday estimates:


                  As you can see, that's miles over for most nutrients. Not bad for an intake of little more than 2000 calories. It's not hard to hit these high values - twice, thrice, or even more times the RDA - when eating a paleo/low carb diet. I am slightly below the RDA for calcium there, but that doesn't worry me. The other intake that falls blow the RDA is thiamin, at only 54% of the RDA. I'm not sure why that would be. I know pork is high in thiamin, and perhaps beef is not quite so much so. But I did have salmon for dinner, an that is fairly high. I also had some nuts, which aren't a bad source. But maybe it's a mistake with the data on Fitday's part.

                  On three meals a day I would tend to eat a fair bit more than this, but this is as much food as I want eating this way - at the moment at any rate. And I think the nutrient profile is looking very good.


                  • #10
                    Cooked and Raw

                    Got up this morning and found that I'd forgotten to take any eggs out of the fridge. Since they wouldn't handle so well for cooking when cold, I decided to make a virtue of necessity and do the raw egg yolks thing, like Chris Masterjohn and a few others. I know the source of these eggs, and I don't worry too much.

                    Not all your food being cooked is an interesting thing to think about, though. The first thing that likely comes to mind is the Pottenger's Cats experiments. He kept these colonies of cats, feeding some on cooked food - tinned meat and pasteurised milk - and others on raw food - raw meat, unpasteurised milk. He also gave the second group a little cod liver oil. The second group throve, but the first sickened. And this became especially noticeable over generations. Over several generations, the cats became deformed - elongated in the body and face and limbs and not so sturdy - lost their perfect balance, and became subject to all sorts of conditions. They also showed less sexual differentiation: some females became more aggressive, and some males abnormally placid. The tomcats began to exhibit what Pottenger describes as "slack or perverted" sexual interest. Eventually, the cats bones became soft and rubbery, and after a few generations they could no longer breed. They were so degenerated as to be sterile.

                    I think the point here is not that our food should be raw but that this is what happens if you feed cats a diet that is not appropriate for them. We've eaten cooked food for aeons. Rather, this is what might happen to us if we eat food that is not appropriate for us - large amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrate, processed food, junk food. Perhaps it already is.

                    However, it is interesting to note that it's been said that not just hunter-gatherers but all traditional societies, from the French to the Japanese, eat some of their food raw. Such a widespread traditional practice is probably worth taking into account.

                    I've just bought a bottle of the Green Pastures naturally fermented cod liver oil, so I had half a teaspoon of that. That's raw.

                    I then ate some naturally fermented salsa. (Raw again - although it's the raw animal fat and protein that seem to be specially important rather than raw vegetable matter.)

                    Two raw egg yolks.

                    Some salami. That again is, I think, raw, the meat being fermented rather than cooked.

                    Some brussels sprouts with a load of butter. (This is about the only cooked thing so far - and best so, because of the goitrogens in it.)

                    A small tangerine.

                    Some cheese - proper traditional cheese made from raw milk.

                    I think that should do. In fact, I probably generally eat more raw foods than at first seems, since I sometimes take the CLO, occasionally eat raw egg yolks, enjoy salami, and often have a slice of cheese.

                    I've also got three fermented foods in there: the CLO, the salsa, and the salami. That should be good for the gut bugs.
                    Last edited by Vainamoinen; 01-15-2015, 12:20 AM.


                    • #11

                      I'm not eating a ketogenic diet at the moment. I think to really be in this state most people would have to be eating something like 80% fat, 13% protein, 7% carbs - maybe even lower on the carbs. I don't usually bother to weigh and measure what I eat, but I'd guess I'm more like 70% fat, 22% protein, 8% carbs - which is probably fairly average for a low-carb diet. (Incidentally, I think something like 65% to 70% fat is probably historically valid for Northern Europe in the past, and what Northern Europenas are likely pretty well adapted to.)

                      But the ketostix are still interesting to look at.

                      What people who have used a lot of different methods say is that they're of limited usuefulness for ketogenic diets. What they're measuring is acetoacetate in the urine, which doesn't correlate that well with β-hydroxybutyrate in the blood. The point is that a violet colour on the stick is evidence that you're making ketones, but not evidence that you're in a ketogenic state - that you're metabolising them - because if and when you are they disappear off the stick and you go back into the pink. The colour is also dependent on the volume of urine, so is affected by whether you drink rather more or less - so there's another problem.

                      However, I think the sticks are perhaps interesting for an ordinary low-carb diet as opposed to a ketogenic diet. First of all, they are cheap. Secondly, insofar as you're going up towards the right, then I'd think that that's a pretty good indication that you are getting efficient at fat-burning.

                      So I have been using them. And here's what I found.

                      I should be a fairly good fat-burner, since I've been eating a low-carb diet for quite some time. However, I did cut a bit loose over Christmas, eating a fair amount of carbohydrate and alcohol - more than I planned to. I've been doing well on a 2-meals a day LCHF regimen, and have lost off my waistline quite nicely. I don't get hungry between meals, either, although I'm going 12 hours a day between meals. But the interesting thing is that it took until yesterday - 14 Jan 2014 - for me to get up to dark pink (4 mmol/dL) by early morning. Previously, I've been there by the afternoon. So I guess after a little indulgence it took me two weeks to really get my metabolic machinery back into gear. Makes you think.
                      Last edited by Vainamoinen; 01-15-2015, 03:08 AM.


                      • #12
                        V - thanks for the keto stix education. I began using them back in my Atkins days. I just bought some and have neglected to check them out as I figure I'm eating too many CBs. Back in the day, I only ingested greenery with a lunch time salad, the rest was protein and lots of pork rinds/cheese. I turned deep purple and lost tons of weight. I have not tried to do as drastically eating the way I currently do. Nor have I tested again. Perhaps it is time.
                        Female back to the basics: 5-2017
                        CW: 2017: 150
                        GW: 130 a dream, I know
                        Muscle soreness surrounding Neck, Thyroid and Rosacea issues.


                        • #13
                          24 Hour Fast

                          Now I seem to be pretty well adapted again, I'll throw in a 24 hour fast. My last meal was yesterday evening - crab, beef, vegetables with butter, salad with olive oil, etc. Nothing to eat till dinner tonight.


                          • #14
                            Pass the kippers, Watson

                            For some reason people always think of Holmes and Watson having breakfast kippers brought to them by Mrs Hudson. I can't think of any reference to kippers in any of the stories, but the TV adapations usually have a plate or two being brought in. Anyway, here's another English breakfast favourite that's due for a revival. I don't think kippers for breakfast has ever gone out, but it's tended to be displaced and retreat to the margins. Kippers, of course, are cured herrings - very much a staple around the coast of the British Isles. There were actually three types of smoked herrings: kippers, bloaters and red herrings. You'll find references to all three in old novels, but the kippers are the only ones that are around much nowadays. Bloaters were not gutted, and so had a quite gamey taste. Red herrings are much more heavily salted - and presumably kept longer in the old days before refrigeration. All three cures are still on sale, though. See e.g:

                            Kippers, bloaters, buckling, red herrings for nationwide delivery

                            Someone very kindly gave me a Manx-cure kipper and some cooked, shelled mussels, from our local fishmonger yesterday, so that's what I had for breakfast. As the name implies a Manx-cure kipper is one cured in the Isle of Man, an island with an interesting Celtic-cum-Viking heritage. Incidentally, Man is also the home of a very good brewery


                            but sadly beer is not exactly paleo.

                            I jugged the kipper. IMO, this is the best and least messy way to cook them. You warm a large jug well. I've got a great, big stoneware jug that came from a pottery in Ireland, a gift from a friend, and that's ideal. You then fill it up quite full with boiling water, drop the kipper in head-first and top up with boiling water. Put a saucer on top, and maybe wrap the jug in a towel. In about 6 minutes it will be done - I tip the jug out gently into a colander. I actually found this morning that the kipper tended to fall apart a little, so perhaps a slightly shorter time would be better. I've often used the larger Northumberland kippers in the past, and perhaps these cook slightly slower. I wasn't sure what to do with the cooked mussels. They'd be a bit cold from the fridge, even though I got them, and the fish, out somewhat in advance. And hot would be better, anyway. I thought of steaming them briefly, but then I thought they might go too soft. I'm not a chef - I have to guess what to do. What I did was to drop them in the hot water the kipper had cooked in and leave them for a few seconds. I had been warming a plate in a low oven and put the kipper and drained mussels on that and back in while I did a couple of things.

                            I had a few cubes of boiled celeriac left over, and I thought they might go well with the kippers and mussels. I fried those in butter. In fact, it seemed to work quite well - the kipper flesh and the mussels had an agreeable delicate "meaty" taste, and the celeriac made a nice contrast - sort of fresh and sharp. Hey, I've invented a new dish!

                            I ate a knob of butter first as insurance. (Not always easy to get quite enough fat.) Then I had the kippers, mussels, celeriac. Afterwards I ate a salad, a wedge of cheese and half a small apple. Then I drank a cup of coffee with double cream. I felt really good. I don't know what it is - whether your body knows the nourishment it's getting, or whether it's the enjoyment of the flavours or what, but you get a real sense of well-being from food like this.

                            My brother-in-law tells me he's running now. Not chronic cardio - just short distances now and then. Sounds good. Glad I'm not the only one in the family with a touch of New Year's self-improvement on the go!
                            Last edited by Vainamoinen; 01-18-2015, 02:01 AM.


                            • #15

                              We've got a dusting of snow. It's rare enough in this area of the country to be a nice change and much enjoyed by the kids.

                              I recall a few years ago a magazine from the U.S. (Time, I think) giving ideas for really cold weather, of which the U.S. was just having a spell, and suggesting among other things that kimchi might keep the cold out. IIRC it said:

                              Old Korean vets [veterans not veterinary surgeons] swear by a vile Korean dish called kimchi.
                              Well, today I ate that "vile Korean dish". Very pleasant, spicy and fresh tasting.

                              I had a small bowl of kimchi.

                              I followed that with two Sicilian-style sausages (chosen because they've got no rusk in them), two eggs fried in clarified butter, and a flat portobello mushroom fried in butter. Then a wedge of cheese. I finished up with strong hot black coffee to which I added double cream. This was organic cream from the Yeo Valley in the West Country. And kudos to the farmers of the South-west: this cream was so thick it had partially solidified and needed to be spooned.

                              Goodness, gracious - I'll be "raising my cholesterol"! (Tongue in cheek. This, as you know, is a commercial con, by drugs companies who have found a way to block the production of this important hormone-precursor in the body, the rationale for their doing that being based on their knowing that people would believe that cholesterol was harmful and needed to be "lowered" - since, obviously, people's bodies would be out to get them and would be producing substances with no good reason.)
                              Last edited by Vainamoinen; 01-20-2015, 01:53 AM.