Another Crustless Quiche

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This one was way better than my last crustless quiche.

What I did differently was first, to use 1/2 cup of potato flour instead of coconut flour. This resulted in a wonderfully crusty skin. Carbs? Well, 1/2 cup of the flour is about 60 grams or so, discounting the fiber (about 5 grams). This gets cut into 12 portions, so you'll get 5-6 grams per slice. No big.

The other thing is that I used Swiss cheese instead of cheddar. The traditional French recipe calls for Gruyere, but that's about four times the price and it's not four times as good.

On the next go I'm going to try to make an actual crust with the potato flour, eggs, leaf lard, etc. I might try tapioca, and that's only about two-thirds of the carbs in the potato flour.

...Well, I'm off to catch a cruise ship in downtown San Diego.

Grilled Carne Asada

My father-in-law, Sam, grilled this up last night. The veggies were grilled too.

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It was a great dinner, after having spent very nearly the entire day by the pool.

LDL Cholesterol Nonsense

Cholesterolcon-1 Well, I was all prepped for a link and quick hits roundup, but first up was a bit about LDL cholesterol, as in the calculated one...as in the one most of you get when you have your blood work done. After a bt of poking around, the link roundup can wait.

But back up a bit, all the way to here, where I posted my first lipid panel about a year ago. At a calculated LDL of 104, I got a warning of "elevated" from the doc. Then, as some of you may recall from last February, those lipid numbers caused one naturopath to email me with some concerns. The solution? Well, in a nutshel, the solution would be to dramatically increase my triglycerides (fat in your blood) from a low of 47 to somewhere perhaps in the 150ish range, thus letting the Friedewald equation do its thing. How's that, you ask? Well, I laid it all out in this post: What Do You Think You Know About LDL Cholesterol? This post has been picked up in links a couple of times in the last few days. The first was by Tom Naughton, maker of Fat Head, a film I highly recommend as a way to introduce people to the fraud of conventional "wisdom" in nutrition.

In brief, the Friedewald equation for calculating LDL (direct measurement is expensive) is that you take total cholesterol, subtract HDL, and then subtract further your triglycerides divided by 5:

LDL (calculated) = Total Cholesterol - HDL - Triglycerides/5

A cursory glance at that equation should help explain what I meant above, where I wrote that the way to have low(er) LDL would be to dramatically increase my triglycerides. How does one do that? It's quite simple: eat lots of hearthealthywholegrains. You can even get the job done quicker by tossing in sugar, sodas, and any manner of processed food in abundance. I think the average Trig level in America is in the area of 200 and increasing. All else remaining equal, had my Trigs been 200 instead of 47, then I would have been able to subtract 40 (200/5) instead of 9.4 (47/5). Thus: 219 - 106 - 40 = 73. That would earn me a hand shake from my physician, all for replacing a good deal of the meat, eggs, veggies, and fruit I eat with bread, pasta, sweets and other crap. (Of course, if I were to do that, all things would not remain equal, because my HDL would also take a huge nosedive.)

Next, Sephan at Whole Health Source picked up that link and also came up with something of help for those of you out there who may not want to go to the expense of paying for your own NMR Lipoprofile or a Vertical Auto Profile (VAP). What has been known for a long time is the Friedewald becomes very unreliable at Trig levels over 400. It has also been suspected that it's equally unreliable for Trig levels below 100, a level of triglycerides achieved by almost al low-carb / paleo practitioners. Dr. Eades explains it in this post.

So, what Stephan came up with is an equation that purportedly does a better job at calculating your LDL when your Trigs are below 100.

LDL (calculated) = Total Cholesterol/1.19 + Triglycerides/1.9 - HDL/1.1 - 38

Now, if I run my same 219 total, 47 Trig, 106 HDL through this new equation, I get a calculated LDL of 75 and not the 104 that motivated my doctor to caution me (and to probably make a note that I'll soon be a candidate for a statin prescription).

Well, guess what else? Turns out I had another lipid panel done a while back and I convinced them to do a direct measure of LDL: 66. That's not too far off the 75 rendered by the equation above, and so, while an NMR, VAP, or direct measure is the best way to go, you can at least perhaps get some immediate peace of mind by doing your own calculation per the above formula.

Would be very interested to see your comments comparing your latest numbers, Friedewald verses the new equation, particularly if you have Trigs significantly below 100.

Finally, my friend Jimmy Moore recently interviewed Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con. I recommend both.

Real Chicharrónes

Picked up this morning by my father-in-law from a local Mexican market, Los Reyes, in Vista, CA. So good. Crunchy, but chewy all at the same time.

Real Chicharrones

I Get So Much Help

As per usual, today, being a traveling day, I fasted from last night's meal (damn me that I didn't get a picture of the main course; it's quite special that Robert actually ground the curry himself, and I've been a bit obsessed thinking of it) until tonight.

So, bygones, and a mistake I'll not repeat; here's tonight's break-fast after a long drive.

Roat beef 

Upon arrival, there was a roast beef with some onion having spent a lot of hours n the crock pot. In addition, squash cut into great big chunks as you see ( me likey) , carrots and cauliflower. They had organic, unsalted butter on hand, which I made substantial use of.

I had a second plate just like this. A couple more scotches/rocks, and I'm done.

Deviled Eggs & Salmon Roe

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Just about to head out and hit the road, but not before this. Friends down the hall were kind enough to prepare dinner for us last night and served up a wonderful witefish in a curry sauce featuring home ground curry spices. Nice, and I wish I'd had the presence of mind to snap a photo.

I didn't come empty handed and presented this bit of an appetizer. Really super easy to make. I followed this recipe from Cheeseslave, and yep, this is a great way to get vitamin K2, MK-4, the form of K2 made by animals for other animals.

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What I did differently from the recipe was that I included about a rounded tblsp of finely chopped shallot, and instead of mustard, I chopped about a rounded tbsp of nori (dried seaweed, such as you see as garnish) that's included in the egg. This one is definitely a keeper, for me.

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Admin Notes

I have commissioned an expert team to convert this TypePad blog over to WordPress in its entirety. I can't wait to deliver my parting shot to TypePad over that. For the last two years or so, every single enhancement has come with 2-3 bugs that take months to fix, if ever, and general downgrades.

Whereas, years ago I was able to compose a post wholly in the rich text editor, for the last two years I have yet to compose a post where I didn't have to hand edit html to get things to display right.

Next, the wife & are are leaving San Jose tomorrow AM for Vista, CA to drop off the dogs at her parents'. Then, Sunday, we head down to San Diego to catch a cruise ship for my parent's 50th anniversary, along with all three of my brothers and their wives / SOs.

Should be fun. I'll endeavor to snap some photos of real food assembled from cruise ship fare. No idea what connectivity will be, but I'll do what I can.

We'll be back in full swing immediately after the 7/4 weekend.

Eating Out and Away

Mark Sisson has up a decent guide to eating out. He's right about the Mexican. While I might could go for the carnitas, or even the home made chicharrónes, I usually go for the fajitas, in the same style Mark suggests: ditch the tortiallas, rice, & beans. Gor for the grilled meat, veggies, guac & sour cream.

This is precisely what I did last Friday evening at a very old and popular Mexican restaurant.

Fajitas

Sunday we went to visit my dad & mom for fathers day. Got there about noon and I hadn't eaten since those fajitas right above. A bit hungry, and as it turned out, mom had made ground beef stuffed cabbage the night before, no rice. Perfectly primal.

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I think I'll be giving this one a go. Ideas for variations include trying it with ground lamb, veal, or a combo. I also have one pack of ground venison left over from my brother's kill some months back, so this dish is a definite candidate.

Fast forward a few hours, mom set out some snacks.

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Artisan salami, pickled herring, a camembert, smoked oysters, assorted veggies & cheese, and chicharrónes.

I'm very fortunate to have parents and other family who have seen the benefits of the primal, real food experience.

There’s Usually An Unconsidered Variable

The single biggest problem with what are called "observational studies" is that you generally can't be certain about which variable or combination of variables is responsible for the positive or negative effects you're observing.

This was recently illustrated by a couple of dumb studies. The second of those links is especially egregious, implicating red meat, a staple of humans and their ancestors going back 2.5 million years while the modern grains, sugars and vegetable oils that have been in the diet only recently are given a pass.

Stephan at Whole Health Source came up with a keen observation the other day in this regard.

In other words, the reason observational studies in affluent nations haven't been able to get to the bottom of dental/orthodontic problems and chronic disease is that everyone in their study population is doing the same thing! There isn't enough variability in the diets and lifestyles of modern populations to be able to determine what's causing the problem. So we study the genetics of problems that are not genetic in origin, and overestimate genetic contributions because we're studying populations whose diet and lifestyle are homogeneous. It's a wild goose chase.

Here's another way to look at it, by means of a joke Beatrice emailed the other day.

~~~

I was shopping at the local supermarket where I selected:

A half-gallon of 2% milk
A carton of eggs
A quart of orange juice
A head of lettuce
A 2 lb. can of coffee
A 1 lb. package of bacon

As I was unloading my items on the conveyor belt to check out, a drunk standing behind me watched as I placed the items in front of the cashier. While the cashier was ringing up the purchases, the drunk calmly stated, 'You must be single.'

I was a bit startled by this proclamation, but I was intrigued by the derelict's intuition, since I indeed had never found Mr. Right. I looked at the six items on the belt and saw nothing particularly unusual about my selections that could have tipped off the drunk to my marital status.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I said, 'Yes, you are correct. But how on earth did you know that?'

The drunk replied, 'Cause you're ugly.'

~~~

Of course, that suggests another problem in addition to an unconsidered variable: you might be biased against one of more or them.

Saturday Dinner – Grilled Tri-Tip & Celery Root Purée

Tri-tip

I finally got a grill that allows me very good temperature control, such that I can do the low & slow to achieve rare & medium rare roasts from edge to edge and not just the very center. It's a Char-Broil Infrared Gas Grill. Highly recommended. Essentially, I was able to easily create an indirect heating environment of only about 250 degrees. I used a temperature probe as well to know internal temperature. Then, once the meat was at 115 I used direct heat on high and turned the meat until 125. Then let rest. If you have juice draining after a couple of minutes, you know it's enough to make the fat juicy. Of course, the juice was reintroduced to the sauce.

SANY0030 To accompany the roast was a celery root purée which I've been dying to make correctly for about a dozen years (click the image for the full size). Tried a couple of times with bad results. You must have a full-fledged food processor. I'll not even go into the various ways I've tried. You must have a food processor to do it right.

SANY0021 Here's the recipe that I used. The changes I made were that I used 2 cups of whole milk (organic pasteurized is fine; you're gonna kill the milk anyway) and a cup of organic heavy cream mixed with the water for cooking. I also used a full stick of organic butter, along with 1/2 cup of cream (melted together in a saucepan) for the finish in the food processor. It came out smooth and really wonderful. Yep, there's one small russet to go with the 2-3 pounds of celery root. For 6-8 servings, it's a pretty minimal amount of glucose.

The sauce was a reduction of my standard bone stock and I didn't do much with it other than add a bit of red wine, and a pinch each of sage & rosemary. Because I was concerned with having enough for everyone, I thickened with about a tsp of potato flour right at the end instead of reducing more.

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Our neighbor prepared a wonderful green salad with onions, real bacon bits, and dressed lightly with olive oil and fresh lime. I was remiss in not getting a photo, but, I did eat an entire plate of it after the above had been finished off.

Links and Quick Hits

~ Yet another hearthealthywholegrains vegetarian athlete disaster at Mark's daily Apple. Ultimately, it's a success story, but that's only because she stopped listening to all those trying to "help" her (like her doctors), did her own research, learned, applied, and transformed.

~ Keith Norris of Theory to Practice has created a fabulous resource in the form of a growing collection of very brief but butt-kicking exercise demonstrations on YouTube, now standing at 14 videos. I don't know that a lot of this would be appropriate for someone just starting out with resistance training (unless you do so under proper instruction), and frankly, I never thought this sort of thing would be of interest to me. But we change as we progress, and now things like free squats, deadlifts...and most recently, power cleans and barbell snatches are my favorites. The reason is because I spent a couple of years doing the standard isolation type stuff and have gained tremendous strength. It was time to move forward, so these compound (multiple joint) exercises are just the ticket. What makes it more interesting, particularly for something like a free squat, for example, is that form and technique are so important. I would say that virtually all your initial progress will be owed to getting your form right, and not so much increases in strength.

~ Big Surprise Here (not!). Something any primal or paleo practitioner can tell you: carbs don't don't help, and Red Bull doesn't give you wings.

~ Ornish Smornish. Yet another person finds out the hard way: the Dean Ornish Chubby Face Diet is an utter disaster, and it creates victims of what cardiologist William Davis calls "Post-Traumatic Grain Disorder." "I tried his plan on and off, but as so many people note, an almost-vegan diet is really tough. It was for me, and I could never do it for any length of time. But given that the “evidence” said that I should, I kept trying, and kept beating up on myself when I failed. And I kept gaining weight. I got to almost 200 pounds by the time I was 40 and have a strong suspicion that that’s what caused my blood sugar to go awry, but my doctor at the time never checked my blood sugar, and as a relatively young and healthy man, I never went in very often." Punchline: blood sugars ended up at 500 mg/dl. Yea, yea: "but if he had only followed the diet." Listen up, and listen good: unnatural diets designed for pea-brains and not humans are not supposed to be followed by humans with any ease. Dean Ornish is playing the oldest con-scam in the book: making you feel guilty for your own nature. Fuck Ornish.

~ Tom Naughton -- who's as good of a comedian as he is a filmmaker -- has a good and funny go at those PETA morons; or, "PETArds." And I mean it: every single one of 'em; wall to wall and top to bottom. That is, they're voluminous in their idiocy. "I realize the PETA folks like to blur the distinctions between various life-forms, but flies aren’t animals.  They’re insects.  They don’t plan for their futures, they don’t fall in love, and they don’t miss their cousin Boo-Boo if he has an unfortunate encounter with a presidential hand.  A fly is probably about as intelligent as a medium-sized potato - and therefore only slightly more intelligent than a medium-sized PETA volunteer."

~ And last but certainly not least, friend and fellow paleo-ish traveller, Diana Hsieh, is now Dr. Dianna Hsieh, having successfully defended her 300-page-plus doctoral dissertation on the problem of moral luck. It's a good thing to add just one more sane person to the disaster that has been modern philosophy these last hundreds of years. Now there's two docs in the household: MD Paul, and PhD Diana. Oh, yea, and Diana has other successes to be proud of as well: her transformation.

My Transformation in Photos

Wow. It's been just over two years since this greatest journey of my life began (unnecessary; wish I'd never let myself go so far astray). Nevertheless, here I am, and I wish to first acknowledge the growing number of enthusiastic readers who, I believe, have a major role in this. I really doubt I would have seen it through without your enthusiastic words of encouragement, excitement, and motivation every single step of the way.

Not one single time, either in comments, email, or in person have I received a single negative word. Not once. Thank you for your tireless encouragement. It means a lot to me. In return, my sincere hope is that these photos, more than anything else, encourage and motivate all of you on similar paths. Don't give up. Never quit. Achieving leanness and renewed vitality is within virtually everyone's grasp.

Alright, this is the third official photo update. The first was in February, 2008, and the second, September, 2008. As always, let's begin with how bad it got.

Before pics

Pretty bad, eh? Here we are nowadays, and you can click these for the full-size versions.

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Here's a montage of pics Bea took yesterday afternoon while I was getting in a workout here on the patio of our vacation home in Arnold, CA.

Workout

And, finally, here's the comparison shot, around October 2007, five months or so into the program compared with today.

Comparison

Once again, thank you all for the continual and never-ending support. I very much like to think that I couldn't have done it without this blog and the readers and enthusiasts who make it happen daily.

Thank you.

10/6/09: Here's an interim update as of mid-September; down to 176.

06/20/10: A couple more, here and here.

Triglycerides: 93.5% Reduction in Three Weeks – 3,100 to 202

So there you have it: the punchline, right there in the title.

But who did it, and how? That would be none other than Dr. William Davis, cardiologist. So then, what sort of medical procedure did he perform? What sorts of pharmaceuticals did he prescribe? To what level did he admonish his patient, Daniel, to cut the arterycloggingsaturatedfat and to eat lots more servings of hearthealthywholegrians?

Of course, anyone who actually reads and thinks for themselves -- rather than swallowing the cloistered expert-&-authority-protectionism of conventional "wisdom" -- should know, he did none of those things; which, given the other successes he's blogged about -- some of which I've highlighted here -- exposes most if not all of the "lipid establishment" (i.e., cloistered expert-&-authority-protection racket) as con men: most physicians in that role, all the drug companies, and our beloved (not!) FDA.

Got it? Good, so let's move on.

Since most of you who should know, know, what then, dear supplicant to cloistered expert-&-authority-protection rackets, did Dr. Davis do? I'm glad you asked! It's actually simple: step one is that he "prescribed" 3,600 mg of over-the-counter omega-3 fatty acids per day, i.e., plain ol' fish oil caps. Depending on concentration, that could be anywhere from 5 to 10 1g caps per day, guesstimating. After 10 days, Trigs had dropped from 3,100 to 1,100. Step two was to continue on the OTC fish oil and eliminate wheat, corn starch, and sugar from the diet (in other words: less hearthealthywholegrains, more arterycloggingsaturatedfat). This took him from 1,100 to 202 in another 10 days.

Daniel, a sufferer of what's known as familial hypertriglyceridemia, now has lower Trigs than whole bunches of people walking about without such a genetic disorder. For those who don't know, triglycerides are fat circulating in your blood. The more hearthealthwholegrains and sugar you eat, the higher will be your triglyceride levels. The more arterycloggingsaturatedfat you eat, the less will be your levels. Almost all paleo and low-carb eaters have levels less than 100, and most of us hang out in a range of 40-60. I believe the average in the US is around 150 or so, and climbing (all while the cloistered expert-&-authority-protection racket claps and cheers over irrelevant, non-associated lower LDL levels). Lots of people are walking around at 400 and higher. But, hey, they lowered their LDL by eating lots of hearthealthywholegrains, and thus helping out Big Agra, who, in gracious turn, helps the cloistered expert-&-authority-protection racket. It's all quite cozy, incestuous...and insanely profitable.

High triglycerides are bad, very bad, and in my opinion, far worse than "elevated" serum cholesterol (lipoproteins). High triglycerides are well associated with death from heart disease, while half of those who die from heart disease have low cholesterol and half have high cholesterol.

Well, that about sums up the story (but not the rant), so the rest is devoted to Dr. Davis himself, who tells the brief story here and here.

I am continually surprised at the number of people with high triglycerides who are still treated with a fibrate drug, like Tricor, or a statin drug, when fish oil -- widely available, essentially free of side-effects, with a proven cardiovascular risk-reducing track record --should clearly be the first choice by a long stretch.

Could Dr. Davis be referring to his own colleagues in the medical profession -- most, probably?

Uh, yep:

Unfortunately, most of my colleagues, if they even think to use omega-3s, choose to use the prescription form, Lovaza. Indeed, several representatives from AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical outfit now distributing this miserably overpriced product, frequently barge their way into my office poking fun at our use of nutritional supplements instead of the prescription Lovaza. "But insurance covers it in most cases!" they plead. "And your patients will know that they're getting the real product, not some fake. And they'll have to take fewer capsules!"

Dr. Davis has previously blogged about the Lovaza rip off; punchline: $3,600 per year vs. $150 per year (all while so many in America clamor to have everyone pay for everyone else's "health" care...).

He says further:

I never use Lovaza to reduce triglycerides, even in familial hypertriglyceridemia -- the FDA-approved indication for Lovaza -- and have not yet seen any failures, only successes.

Good for Daniel, and good for the heroic Dr. Davis, who gives a great prognosis.

He's got just a little further to go to achieve the biologically ideal level of less than 60 mg/dl. You can see that it is not really that difficult--provided someone didn't load you down with nonsense about "cutting your fat," or statin or fibrate drugs.

And guess what, on a related topic? I just heard from a very well respected health blogger in email that a guy who'd contacted him about fatty liver disease got his enzymes back to normal in a single month. This, after 9 whole years of a fatty liver. What advice did this health blogger give him? Drop the sugar, vegetable oils, and take fish oil.

Let's be clear who the enemies are in all this: many of Dr. Davis' colleagues, all pharmaceutical companies, the FDA, and the whores in the mainstream media who can't wait to bend over for each and every one of the foregoing as often as they possibly can.

You didn't hear that here first, but you'll hear it often.

Things Keeping Me From Blogging More

Walks with doggies in my Vibram Five Fingers.

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Sunshine.

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Even More Doggies.

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The Lovely Wife Unit.

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Admin Note – For Frequent Commenters

[This entry is probably only of interest to frequent commenters.]

I just found a few days back that my blog host, TypePad, has the commenting engine so screwed up it's beyond belief, at least on God's computer platform, by which I mean, the Mac (see here for my initial post on switching). Safari or Firefox, doesn't matter.

Some time back they went to a new platform where, not only do I get an email for each comment, but I can reply right in email and it gets posted. This keeps me real nimble and able to reply to lots of comments -- even on my iPhone, as a quick email reply is far easier than using the web form. So, other commenters also get email notification, they can reply in email as well, and, so, you get the picture. But several days ago, I discovered that my email replies had not been getting posted. This, after more than a dozen replies to your comments.

OK, so I alert TypePad and set about to find which ones had not made it onto the blog -- a chore in itself -- then set about to post them via the web form. Problem number two: the link to the comment provided in email doesn't take you to the relevant comment most of the time, but just to the top of the blog entry. OK, so scroll through and find it, which is difficult because I have (had; I disabled yesterday) the reply nesting set, which means replies to a comment go below that comment (wherever it may be), and not simply at the end of the line of comments. So, for those entries with 10, 20 or more comments, I have to scan to find the one I'm replying to. OK, now click the Reply link and when the form comes up for just an instant, the page immediately reloads and puts you -- once again -- to the top of the blog entry. Then, I must scroll through to find it for a second time. Finally, clicking the Reply works.

So, all this to say that I had to choose the most substantive replies to go through the laborious process and just leave the rest. If you're one of those who was kinda expecting a reply because of my past behavior, I'm sorry. I'm on top of it from here out, however, so comment away. Also, if you wondered why it took 2-3 days for a reply comment rather than in the heat of the exchange, now you know.

I so want to move to WordPress where I can have complete control of customization, but I'm not going to do so until I can do it right. So many people blow up their blogs moving around all the time, employing cheap doofuses to do tech work and hosting on cheap services that go down all the time or hit bandwidth limits. Actually, I'm in contact with the folks who did Mark Sisson's redesign (very pro, excellent), but it's expensive (!!!). I may pop for it in any case, but not in the immediate.

Onward.

Almost Paleo Country “Biscuits” & Gravy

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This is one I came up with concurrently while thinking of last night's meal. I was actually a late comer to the love of country buttermilk biscuits & gravy, but fall hard I did. "Twas a time when, all the local cafes I frequented existed in a mental hierarchy based exclusively on my judgment of the quality of their country gravy.

But since going toward paleo two years ago, getting closer 18 months ago, and finding my stride and expertise now, it has been a rare cheat treat that I've maybe fixed only 3-4 times, all right up here in...the open country.

Well, I'm here to say that the gravy problem was easily solved, so, no more need of flour and starches and other nefarious ingredients. Seriously: coconut milk, country sausage, and whatever spices you like. Simmer and reduce gently. I used just a couple dashes each of chives, rosemary, parsley, and savory. I also added a quarter cup of heavy cream and 1/4 tsp of Kitchen Bouquet, just for color. Regular readers know that I do a lot of coconut milk curries (just use search to find them). In this case, fortunately, there is not a hint of coconut flavor. It works excellently.

Biscuits are a much harder problem. I was very limited in choices, here. No coconut flour at the local market, so, for six cupcakes, I used four jumbo eggs, 4 tbsp coconut milk, 1/2 cup of buttermilk, and 4 tbsp cottage cheese. (Note: that was a full can of coconut milk, and the remainder went with the 1/2 pound of sausage.)

I greased the cupcake pan with bacon drippings; and by the way, if you use bacon drippings, then always cook your bacon on very low heat. I'm patient, and my bacon never smokes, and so my drippings are always pretty pristine for later use. Also, the sausage was too lean, and so 2 tbsp of bacon dripping went in there, too.

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350 degrees, and I initially tried 15 minutes, but a knife poke revealed way too much moisture. So, I kicked it up to 400 for another 10 minutes, which did the trick. I rested for 5 minutes in the tray, and then another 5 minutes turned over on the counter, letting moisture steam off. In the end, about as firm as quiche.

The biscuits are the weak link, and I'm anxious to try various things when I get back home, such as the cauliflower pizza crust, coconut flour, or some combination. For those who like country gravy on their scrambled eggs, this approximated that. If I can get the biscuits up to the texture I'd like, then I'll go the the trouble. Otherwise, I'll probably just do plain omelets with the country gravy poured on top.

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Skillet Fried Pork Chops and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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This was perhaps my favorite preparation in quite a while. I really devoured it, even to the point of gnawing at every little bit of flesh on the bones of those chops.

SANY0069 Fist, though, let's talk about the roasted Brussels sprouts -- roasted with whole garlic and onions and tossed in a shallot & balsamic vinegar reduction -- a preparation I can't take credit for. This one was linked to at Mark's Daily Apple quite some time ago and I fixed it once. However, I blended a couple of recipes I found and ended up cutting the sprouts in half and also blanching them prior to roasting.

That was okay, but I decided to do it pretty much exactly by the recipe this time out, only I didn't have red onion or fresh rosemary. I used yellow onion and dried rosemary. Still, it came out fabulous and, if you don't like Brussels sprouts, I very much encourage you to give this recipe a shot.

So, now for the pork chops. Standard, bone in. I fried them in the skillet with mostly quite a lot of coconut oil and a bit of bacon drippings. I cooked them on low until pink and moist inside, then poured off most of the fat, turned up the heat and browned them well, leaving lots of good bits in the pan. I set them aside to rest, then deglazed with a real nice chicken stock, which I found at the local supermarket and was actually free range organic with no nefarious ingredients whatsoever.

Soon as the deglazing was done, I added more stock, a half-handful of chopped shallot, and a hefty handful of fresh blueberries. I crushed the berries, turned up the heat, and let it reduce. Once it neared completion, I added about three tbsp of fresh organic cream to finish it off and smooth it out. Finally, as I plated the chops, I added back in the drippings from resting.

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In case I hadn't mentioned it, we're up at our cabin in Arnold, CA (Google Maps) for the week as Beatrice, junior high school counselor, just finished out the year.

Finally, if the photo presentation looks a bit improved, I've got to give inspirational credit to my friend and neighbor, Julie Olson, who does wonderfully artistic food blogging at Fraises Et Tartines. Her and husband Trevor are in Paris just now, and I'm horribly jealous.

Interview With Healthy Cooking Coach Rachel Matesz

Rachel_matesz A couple of weeks ago I was pleased to receive a comment to one of my posts and, as I often do, I visited  the commenter's website; when they have one. And what a find it was. After about three minutes of browsing, I immediately emailed Rachel to ask if she had time for an email interview to be conducted at our leisure.

I think we're really fortunate that she did. Before we get to my questions and answers, let's meet the chef.

"I teach people how to cook up healthier, more productive lives. From cooking classes to cooking parties and through cookbooks,  one-on-one coaching, magazine articles, and speaking engagements, I teach people how to improve the way they shop, cook, eat, and look at food –– so they have more energy for life!

"I am particularly skilled at helping people with special needs follow special diets, such as wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-and/or casein-free, corn-free, grain-free, peanut-free, egg-free, or preservative-free diets. Do you have a child on the autism spectrum, with ADD or ADHD, or frequent respiratory infections? Do you have Celiac Disease, food allergies or intolerances, an autoimmune disorder, migraines, PMS, acid reflux, excess weight, or other health challenges you would like to deal with holistically?

"I wrote The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes & Sauces (Planetary Press, October of 2008). I co-authored the award-winning book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook (Planetary Press, 2004) with Don Matesz. I also developed 130 recipes for two books by best-selling author Barry Sears, including Zone Meals in Seconds (HarperCollins, 2004)."

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Can you tell us how you were led to a low-carb, paleo way of eating and cooking, if that's an apt description of who you are now.

I got into the paleo diet as a way to recover from more than 12 years I'd spent following various permutations of the macrobiotic diet, nearly nine of them as a vegan (dairy-free vegetarian).  I developed so many chronic nutritional deficiencies eating that way. Dissatisfied with the macrobiotic approach, my husband and I adopted a dairy-free, omnivorous whole foods diet. We experimented with a Zone-style diet and then with a hunter-gatherer (or paleo) diet. The work of Dr. Weston Price was a huge inspiration to both of us. We didn't follow a strictly low-carb paleo diet but it was a huge improvement over the a grain based diets we'd followed for years before. [Read more...]

A Sunday Brunch

Earlier today, I did a twitpic of the brunch Bea, I and friends down the hall prepared. Now, here's the plated version.

Quiche

The quiche was crustless. Seven eggs, a cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/4 cup water, sea salt & fresh ground pepper.

Separately, about 10 slices of fairly thin sliced bacon, 1/3 cup chopped onion, 1/2 small package of baby spinach. I cut up the bacon, got it frying, added the onion, and at the very end added the spinach. Set it out on a paper towel, then all on the chopping block to chop finely.

Melted leaf lard in my fry pan, poured in the egg mixture, dropped in the bacon mixture, then a cup of grated New Zealand grass fed sharp cheddar, and then I gently stirred it all into the mixture.

About 30 minutes at 350 and a 5-minute finish at 400 to get a decent crust on top. Let rest for 10 minutes or so.

Was It Worth It?

Those who follow along on Facebook and Twitter got to see a cheat meal in real time last night.

Big cheat Indian. NOT #paleo #primal. Nonetheless, delicous.

I hesitate to call it a "cheat," as we were actually attending the HS graduation party for some longtime friends of ours, originally from India. My wife had their son in her 5th grade class. So, it was all about the event and since I love the taste of Indian food, and, I just hit my target of 180, time to ease up.

But man, did I ever get nuclear heartburn. Once home and ready for bed at 11:30, I had to resort to the teaspoon of baking soda. Then, around 2am, I wake to the damn heartburn again. Awful. So, another teaspoon of baking soda...

Then, around 5:30... let's just say "lower intestines," and leave it at that.

7:30; I wake up viciously, nauseatingly hungry. The kind of hunger that makes you almost vomit.

Now, here I sit at 12:30pm, still having eaten nothing and finally feeling normal again, with normal hunger. Just took some of that leftover tri-tip outta the fridge. ...Maybe with some scrambled eggs.

About an hour later: There, recovery. Room temp leftovers: tri-tip and pork loin, accompanied by half an avocado -- all drizzled with Greek EV olive oil and sprinkled with parsley.

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