February – Fast Metabolism Week 4, phase 3

February – Fast Metabolism Week 4, phase 3

Here we are, in the last few days of the four week cycle. I admit that I veered off the program last night. We sold our house in Oakland this week and friends wanted to celebrate with us, I had some wonderful champagne (and then, with resolve weakened, some chocolate). Under the circumstances I don’t think it was a horrible mistake, I am almost at my goal weight. My thought is to go another week to make up for the cheats, probably not exactly at the end but after a week’s break.

I will continue to post recipes that are appropriate to different phases of the diet, and link them to the appropriate phase. My hope is to make it easier for anyone who follows to find food that is easy, delicious and appropriate. Search through my categories for Fast Metabolism to find the full listing of the various weeks, menus, and recipes. Then follow the links to find the recipes and menu ideas.

Phase 3 is a treat after the restricted high protein days of phase 2.

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast with avocado, red onion, smoked salmon and cucumber.

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Breakfast – phase 3

Snack – 1/4 cup walnuts

Lunch – thinly sliced turkey breast with a smear of hummus, then wrapped around a cucumber spear. Blueberries.

Snack – 1/4 cup almonds

Dinner – roast chicken with brown rice and roasted vegetablesIMG_7115 2

Monday night we will de-brief and see how everyone did. Look for that post with my summary and comments.

Meanwhile, we consider this diet a great success. We all lost weight. But even better, we all have a new appreciation and approach to food. Although it seems complicated, the diet was easy to follow. And, we didn’t die of boredom.

February 2018 – Garden in Fort Bragg

February 2018 – Garden in Fort Bragg

I am going to start a monthly regular post recording the changes in the garden in Fort Bragg. We have now owned the house for almost 5 years, but with the remodel and addition, there hasn’t been much time to spend in the garden. As well, without a fence, the garden is prime dinner material for the gophers, deer, and rabbits…not to mention the 6″ banana slugs. So, the garden currently consists of deer and gopher resistant plants. I don’t think anything is completely deer and gopher proof, they like to sample things especially when young. But these plants have survived without our constant presence and without a fence.

It’s a new challenge. A brand new garden, in a brand new mini-climate. The soil is different, the weather is different, the sun and shade patterns are different. The garden is also surrounded by redwood tress with their invasive root systems. In the winter when the sun is low, the meadow surrounding the house is shady. In summer when the sun is high, it can be quite warm and sunny.

What does it look like now in the beginning of February? Well, we are in another drought and the weather has been up to 60 degrees. The plants think it is spring. The daffodils are coming up, some are blooming. The hellebores are gorgeous, I planted several from the Oakland garden when we first purchased the house and they are thriving, even self seeding themselves.

The snowdrops are up, these were planted only a few weeks ago and I was surprised at how quickly they bloomed. They were one of the first winter blooming plants to appear in my Oakland garden. I planted several different varieties up here. Although I understand they are not deer and rabbit proof, so far they have left them alone.

The daffodils are up and some are blooming.

The first grape hyacinth are up as well, some in pots and some in the ground with the hellebores. The larger hyacinth bulbs were planted in a pot last spring to escape the hungry critters, they are blooming as well. IMG_7150IMG_7148

Two of the azaleas, the pink ones are starting to bloom.

In a freshly dug bed, amended by lots of compost, are native California poppies, regular red poppies, and other bulbs. IMG_7146

And what is going on in the cage on top of the wine barrel? Well, one of my favorite flowers is sweet peas. It’s my effort to keep off the deer until they can get a start. IMG_7132

The rhododendrons have large buds but no bloom yet. It is a little early.

The grafted plum tree has a lot of buds. The graft has taken. Yippee, it was my first. I plan to cut some scions from the wild plum trees bordering my Oakland garden and graft them on the baby tree. Hopefully we will plant it in the garden this spring. Once we build the fence.IMG_7156

The belladonna lilies have put up their green leaves, so far they have not bloomed for me but I understand it can take a few years and these were transplanted which they don’t like.  IMG_7153.jpg

And finally this wonderful shrub is blooming, the early native bumble bees are crazy for it. It was a sad little thing when we first moved in, this year it is thriving. I don’t know what it is, let me know if you do. IMG_7154

The potted Meyer lemon has lots of blooms, and my potted lime tree has both blooms and limes. The lemon looks like it would like an inch of compost.

It’s a busy time. It has been so warm and dry that I think the plants think spring as sprung. The garden is alive with the sound of chirping chickadees and junkos, plus the occasional pine siskin. I am looking forward to the return of the hummingbirds.

 

January – Week 4, phase 1

January – Week 4, phase 1

Here we go again, only one more week. A friend made an interesting comment about this diet. He said that even though it sounds complicated, it is actually easier. It’s easier because you don’t have to stick with any one way of eating for months on end. On this diet you have your high carbohydrate days (2 if them), you have your low carbohydrate days (2 of them), and then you have 3 days of, what I would call “intelligent eating”. What does that mean? Healthy fats and lots of vegetables, moderate meat and carbohydrates. I know it’s the way I should eat most of the time. Once the diet is over, I will add a little dairy (I miss cheese, especially goat) and a little wine (I miss that as well). But, the defining word is “little”. I have gone without them for over 3 weeks and lived! I don’t miss sugar (I know that makes some of you shake your heads) but that is probably the only one of the five items (caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy, sugar) that I will not add back into my diet except on a very rare occasion.

So what has today looked like?

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast and raspberries

Snack – mixed fruit and herb tea (I met a friend at a cafe)

Lunch – sprouted wheat tortilla, toasted in a skillet with sliced chicken, tomatoes, onion, and arugula

Snack – tangerine

Dinner – Fast Metabolism Buddha Bowl – 1 cup brown rice, steamed Brussels sprouts, roast winter squash, steamed to reheat deli rotisserie chicken (take out). Yes, I do take out…deli chickens are a wonderful convenience especially if you know the chickens are organic and came from a good source.

These kind of bowls are very easy to put together for either phase 1 or phase 3. All you need is a grain of some sort (brown rice in these examples), something green (broccoli or Brussels sprouts in the pics), and something contrasting in color and texture like sweet potatoes or winter squash.

Steamed Brussels sprouts only take 4 – 5 minutes, the delicata squash was roasted with a spray of olive oil (sorry it was a minor cheat), deli chicken, brown rice…an entire dinner in a bowl. Tamari for flavor.

Here is a picture of the phase 3 bowl:

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Phase 3 dinner bowl

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Phase 1 dinner bowl with tamari

These are perfect dinners, easy if you have any extra steamed rice and veggies on hand. Remember that steamed rice freezes well and reheats in the microwave in glass containers or plastic bags. Why pay exorbitant prices for frozen brown rice at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Simply make more than you will need and freeze the rest in serving sizes that are appropriate for your family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This bowl was a phase 3 dinner, I used a spritz of olive oil when roasting the squash

 

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

This is the last day of week 3, only one more week to go. I missed posting about phase 2 this week. I find phase 2 the most challenging, and frankly boring. Eating just lean protein and greens is “ho hum”. Phase 3 food seems positively decadent after phase 2, allowing moderate amounts of  “healthy” fats such as avocado, nut butter, hummus,  and coconut milk.

In phase 2, I frankly don’t care much about food. I eat because I have to, not because I am interested in what is on my plate. In fact, one day last week I forgot to eat entirely. Not good actually according to the diet. But I was super busy and occupied, I forgot to take food with me, and eating never occurred to me. That is until it got to be dinner time and I was at a friend’s house. By then I was hungry, really hungry. I did ‘cheat’ and have some phase 3 salmon and raw almonds because that was what was there. Really, I had to eat something!

My new scale is supposed to arrive today. Because my old one was rusted and corroded, it was a victim of our downsizing. After my friend (who has lost over 9 pounds in three weeks and feels amazing) raved about her new digital scale, I broke down and ordered one from Amazon.

I am not going to be able to tell you how much weight I have lost because I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning. I will tell you that my clothes are loose and my stomach is flatter. For me the weight loss was secondary to the overall reset. It’s a reset of habits, of taste buds, and overall approach to food. After three weeks I can tell you that I consider that part of the diet a success, the next week will only cement it. My friends who joined me on this adventure say the same thing.

So, what does my last day in phase 3 for this week look like?

Breakfast – fresh raspberries, sprouted wheat toast with almond butter

Snack – raw almonds

Lunch – Buffalo Chicken Chowder from Dishing Up the Dirt, (modified by using coconut oil instead of ghee and a sweet potato instead of russet); with celery sticks on the side and a tangerine. You can follow the link to the recipe, I found it had good flavor but the sweet potato didn’t thicken the chowder the way a russet would have. IMG_7093

Much to my surprise, on doing some research on the wild wide web, I came across another recipe which is very close to how I modified it. They used rice flour to thicken it a little, a good idea. I may like this one better from the blog Easy and Delish, Buffalo Chicken Chowder. I will try it this week and let you know. Changing the chicken breast to thighs would add more flavor (unless cooked sous vide I find chicken breasts too dry). The Frank’s Hot Sauce in the Dishing Up the Dirt recipe was good, keep that if you like spicy things.

My husband wanted something a little more substantial and added a can of pinto beans and some baby spinach. That is also a good option but it is coming closer to something else (chili?) and further away from Buffalo Chicken. IMG_7095

Look for a post, later in the week. Sometime when I am closer to phase 3 again, I will combine the two into something I a bit more to my own taste.

Snack – raw walnuts

DinnerSpicy Lamb Soup-Stew with Garbanzos 

Follow the link if you would like the recipe.

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January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

My family is very fond of what I call soup/stew. It’s not really a stew, more like a very substantial soup. it’s a soup that is a full meal, and it perfectly describes this Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash. You could serve it with a salad or throw in some baby spinach to wilt just before serving. Ta Da greens., nothing more needed.

This is a phase 3 dinner, 2 cups equal one serving.

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Lamb, Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup/Stew

Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

4 servings – 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon, or cardamon seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander or coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed for taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 1 medium red onion, half diced and half sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large delicata squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch cubes; or other winter squash – about 4 cups
  • 1 can of garbanzo (chickpea) beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • optional – handful of golden raisins or roughly chopped dried apricots
  • For garnish – chopped cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, or chives…or combination of all

Directions:

  1. Combine the cumin, cardamon and coriander in a small heavy skillet and toast until slightly brown. This will happen quickly if using ground spices. Watch carefully. If whole spices, cool and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. IMG_7099
  2. Heat the grape seed oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat, add the ground lamb and brown (drain if there is a lot of fat and return to the skillet or pot).
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and spices. Stir until blended and smelling aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bell pepper, squash, garbanzo beans and stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and flavors blended. Add the optional dried fruit, taste for salt, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  6. If not on the Fast Metabolism Diet, I would recommend the optional dried fruit.

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    Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

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Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

This recipe is adapted and modified from one in the NY Times.

January – Week 3, Phase 1

January – Week 3, Phase 1

Here we are again, back to phase 1. How are you feeling? I caught a cold so I am really happy I have a batch of turkey chili I made on Saturday. This chili is excellent, a meal in both phase 1 and phase 3 (with the addition of some sliced avocado or a green salad with olive oil).

We have made it half way!

Menu for phase 1, day 1

BreakfastOvernight oatmeal with fresh blueberries. Did you know that oatmeal freezes well? I made a batch of overnight oatmeal in canning jars, stuck the extra jars in the freezer, and defrosted one overnight in the fridge. The next morning I simply reheated it in the microwave. You will need to add some extra liquid, rice milk or oat milk is good. Please reheat on low so it doesn’t boil over and make a mess in your microwave (like I did).

Sous Vide Overnight Oatmeal

Snack – More blueberries (they were on sale)

LunchTurkey, white bean and kale soup with an orange

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

Snack – Tangerine

DinnerTurkey and Vegetable Chili (everything you need in one bowl)

Turkey Chili

Soup days are perfect for when you are not feeling in tip top shape, and I love having a meal in a single bowl.

 

January – Turkey Chili

January – Turkey Chili

Okay, I know there are about a million recipes out there for chili. I have a whole Pinterest folder full of them. Why do you need one more? Well…what about easy, almost fat free, delicious, full of healthy vegetables, suitable for both phase 1 and phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet, and lastly an insurance policy in the freezer. Chili is the answer for the question “what shall we have for dinner?” frequently posed at 6 pm when everyone is tired, hungry, and grumpy. That’s the kind of insurance I’m talking about. It’s good with rice, with cornbread, poured over a baked potato, garnished with cheese or avocado or chips or cilantro or chopped onion or sour cream, use it in a burrito bowl or rolled in a taco. Whew! And it is delicious just as is, perfect for lunch or dinner on a chilly day. You have lots of options.

This recipe makes a big batch, four quarts of chili. Enough for to put a quart or two in the freezer.

2 cups of chili are a phase 1 meal, garnish with half a sliced avocado for phase 3. Because of the large amounts of legumes, it counts as a starch as well as a protein.

Turkey Chili

4 quarts of Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Makes 4 quarts – 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 4 cups of chopped zucchini
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 32 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot, add a tablespoon or two of water if it sticks.
  2. Add the onion, herbs, chili powder, cumin, garlic and red chili flakes to the pot. Cook on until the onion softens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the 2 cans of black beans with their liquid, the drained pinto beans, and the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Simmer 40 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, red pepper and salt, simmer for another 40 minutes to an hour.
  5. Taste for salt.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced cabbage, avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc.

    Turkey Chili

    Turkey Chili

This recipe is adapted from one in the Fast Metabolism Diet.