A delicious approach to healthy eating

Delicious, healthy and quick

All the recipes are created by me or adapted from well-known recipe books to fit in with the low carb high fat lifestyle. They are all are delicious, quick and easy options for people who are interested in staying slim and healthy.

Although I created this blog originally to support my weight-loss book, The Dissident Diet, the evidence shows that the same low carb, high fat, moderate protein eating plan has the potential to help with diabetes, heart disease and cancer too. Even Alzheimer’s is being linked with insulin resistance caused by eating too many carbohydrates.

The recipes are designed for optimal brain and body function. They are also gluten free with no added sugar. I don’t list the precise calories and nutrient data because, quite frankly, I don’t want to encourage people to be obsessive about what they are eating. But I have classified all the recipes to help you work out how low carb they are without having to get your calculator out:

  • Phase 1 recipes are guaranteed to keep the carbs as low as possible while still providing a healthy balance – great to boost the first month of weight loss, or for those following a strict ketogenic diet for health reasons.
  • Phase 2 recipes are only slightly higher in carbs (they still fit into a LCHF diet plan) but they are designed for people who are maintaining ketosis with ease. If you are following a very strict ketogenic diet for weight loss or health reasons then Phase 2 recipes are fine two or three times a week but if you are struggling to stay ‘in the pink’ then avoid.
  • Phase 3 recipes are low carb, gluten free, desserts and treats. So they don’t break your health rules but you wouldn’t want to eat them every day. Perfect for special occasions and when you want to impress your guests. Or when you simply need a treat yourself without undoing all the good work you’ve done.

Hormone balancing, body balancing

Good food is about so much more than calories. When we eat the wrong food sensitive hormonal control mechanisms that regulate how much we eat and how much we store are overwhelmed – with the result that the body can no longer function as it’s designed to.

You’re probably familiar with the terms protein, fat and carbohydrate. Nutritionists refer to these as ‘macronutrients’, and they are explained in detail at the bottom of the page. While you probably grew up believing that fat was the enemy, the evidence is shifting rapidly and conclusively towards carbohydrate as the linking factor behind the most feared diseases: obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

But wait, some of you will say. Carbohydrates are a handy form of instant energy. Precisely. Extra energy is exactly what most of us don’t need. We’re already storing far too much of it!

Well over half the population have visible signs of carbohydrate intolerance in the form of overweight and obesity but even if you’re not fat, it’s important to look after your insulin and blood sugar levels. Skinny fat syndrome is on the rise and it happens when people who are slim on the outside have all the problems associated with being fat on the inside.

You can’t have your cake and eat it

You know that caveat that comes on processed diet foods… the phrase that says ‘can help you lose weight as part of a calorie controlled diet’? Well, low carb dieting has a caveat too. You can’t eat low carb/high fat one meal and low fat/high carb the next meal and expect to stay slim or healthy. Going low carb is a lifestyle choice and it needs a long term commitment. It’s fine to blow it for one meal a week but you need to understand that carbs are addictive and the more you let them in the more you will want to eat – that’s how the food industry wins against your willpower.

But of all the diets, low carbing wins on most fronts.

  • no counting calories
  • no hunger
  • faster weight loss
  • easy to eat out
  • more indulgent food choices
  • reduces dangerous insulin resistance
  • restores cellular function so that weight regain is less likely
  • protects against the diseases that most of us worry about

On a low carb diet you can eat every kind of meat and fish and seafood (and you don’t need to choose lean cuts), you can eat cheese and cream and yoghurt, you can eat all the vegetables under the sun (but not the ones under the ground), and you can eat nuts and seeds, and even a few pulses and beans. Fruit is fine too, in limited quantities.

The only things you can’t eat are the flavourless foods: foods made from grains and sugars. And, although giving them up can be difficult for the first few days, you’ll soon find you don’t miss them and feel better off without them.

Naturally more healthy

The recipes on this blog are gluten and sugar free because I believe those are the two most damaging molecules in our diet. Forget your worries about saturated fat, cholesterol and calories, just keep gluten and sugar out of your diet and your body will thank you for it.

So low carb dieting isn’t just for fatties. It’s better for all of us. There is a mounting body of evidence suggesting it’s better for all of us. You can get ahead of the game right here while the medics and media struggle to keep up with what we can all see with our own eyes.

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Macronutrients explained

Carbohydrates

The only one of the three macronutrients that has no ‘essential’* status in the body, carbohydrates are an optional extra in your diet. Sure, they provide readily available energy, but we need to mobilise a powerful hormone, insulin, to use that energy. Because refined carbs (sugars and flours) don’t occur abundantly in nature, insulin is supposed to be produced and used sparingly. When you eat in a way that makes your pancreas pump it out all day, every day, it causes problems Too many carbs create too much insulin which has a profoundly negative effect on metabolism and health. The definition of ‘too much’ differs widely between individuals and means that a personalised diet is important.

To mitigate the negative aspects of carb intake we need to choose our carbs with care. Although not ‘essential’ some carbs are useful. Dietary fibre is a form of carbohydrate that we can’t digest but our gut flora can. And feeding your gut flora is a vital part of staying healthy. Here again, soluble fibre found in vegetables, seeds and oats, is much better tolerated than the insoluble fibres like bran which can be very hard for your gut to handle.   Even naturally high carb foods (root vegetables, fruit, beans and pulses) need to be limited, and processed carbs – sweets, confectionary, baked goods, cereals, potatoes, rice, etc are simply not needed in a diet where we all have enough to eat.

People often ask me why – if carbs are so bad for you – rice is such an important food for other cultures: it’s because traditionally it’s all they could get. If you don’t overeat, carbs won’t harm you (though they won’t give you optimal nutrition). But the Western world is stuck in a pattern of chronic overeating and we have to think differently. As soon as you have a nutritionally adequate diet with plenty of access to proteins and fats, carbs are the first thing you should drop in the interests of metabolic and hormonal balance – and longevity.

Fats – are an essential part of your diet with vital roles in your body; sixty percent of the ‘dry weight’ of your brain is fat. We need fat for structure and repair, as well as hormonal and immune balance. Fats are the only one of the three macronutrients that have no effect on your metabolic hormones: which makes them a sort of superfood. The healthy low carb diet becomes a high fat diet (not high protein) because you will be getting your calories and making your energy from fats instead of carbs, and enjoying a more stable biochemistry into the bargain.

There are several kinds of fat – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The latter group breaks down into more categories and you may have heard of omega 6 and 3. For the purpose of our diet we want to prioritise saturated, monounsaturated and omega 3 fats. It’s hard to get enough omega 3 through diet so I recommend using hemp seed oil to dress vegetables and salads. Coconut oil is a special kind of fat that contains high levels of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are used very easily and efficiently by your body  to make energy.

Nutritionists used to think that carbs must be the healthiest option because the body chooses to burn them first. But given the choice, the body would burn alcohol before carbs – and no one would suggest that we should live on alcohol. My view is that the body burns the most toxic fuels first to remove them – and the damage they create – from the blood stream. So that means alcohol goes first, then carbs, leaving fats behind because they are the safest form of energy.

Proteins – are important structural molecules. They are broken down during digestion to amino acids and these essential fragments are a vital part of life. As well as being used to build your body tissues they are an essential component of hormones and neurotransmitters. When we don’t eat enough protein we can suffer from mood swings, poor sleep, food cravings and slow wound healing.

Eating protein stimulates a small amount of insulin release – though research from Sydney University indicates that some proteins stimulate more than others. Protein breakdown is an important way to provide minerals into the body but it also releases toxic ammonia which the body has to excrete. For this reason it makes sense to keep your protein within sensible limits which roughly equates to between one or two palm sized portions per day, or around 0.8 g per kilo of your ideal body weight. Remember that a lamb chop isn’t pure protein – it’s a mix of protein, fat and water so when and if you calculate your protein intake you need to take that into account.

The body can’t store protein so you need to eat some ‘complete’ protein every day (foods that include all of the essential amino acids). That’s easy for meat eaters – even vegetarians can do it reasonably easily by combining pulses and grains with each meal – but low carbers don’t eat grains so here’s a list of complete proteins you can choose instead:

  • Animal: all meat, fish and seafood, cheese and milk.
  • Vegetable: quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed (not the oil), chia seeds, soya.

* Essential nutrients are those which cannot be manufactured in the body and therefore must be eaten in the diet.

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