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:


Phase 3 dinner bowl


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.










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


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 – Fast Metabolism Week 2 phase 1

January – Fast Metabolism Week 2 phase 1

Here we go again, back at phase 1 for two days. How are you doing? The waist on my jeans is looser, yippee!

I did an experiment last night with cooking oatmeal sous vide. I found that the overnight cooking did not require a change in the recommended oats to liquid ratio. And, I much prefer the steel cup oats to regular rolled oats (even the more expensive organic type). Another recommendation is to try and find unsweetened oat milk and replace half the recommended liquid with oat milk. Of course you could also use regular milk or half and half (rice milk didn’t do much) or coconut milk…oh my the possibilities. But in phase 1 stick to oat milk. This time I didn’t add any fruit. The freeze dried fruit is definitely better. If using any other type (including raisins) add them after the oatmeal is cooked.

Breakfast: Overnight oatmeal with fresh blueberries and cinnamon

Sous Vide Overnight Oatmeal

Snack: Pear

Lunch: Open faced turkey sandwich with mustard, tomato, cucumber, red onion and arugula.

Snack: Apple

Dinner: 5 Hour Beef Stew with Brown Rice

5 Hour Beef Stew

I miss that morning dose of caffeine but don’t have a headache, just find I am a tad slower first thing.

Remember your exercise, some form of aerobic activity today. And drink lots of water.

January – 5 Hour Beef Stew

January – 5 Hour Beef Stew

This recipe was first posted in November 2013, but I think it is due for a re-write. As well I wanted to adapt it to the Fast Metabolism Diet, which was amazingly easy to do. You don’t need to be on the diet to appreciate this wonderful meal. It is so easy, you just mix everything together in a large bowl, pour it into a casserole dish, cover and leave in a low oven for 5 hours. Time to catch up on some of the Harry Potter movies that are playing in marathon session on TV this weekend. Your whole house will be filled with wonderful smells. This recipe is good enough to serve company. It is appropriate for phase 1 or 3.

The original idea came from a cookbook (mine now well-used, stained, and tattered) called Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase. She was one of the co-authors of the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. She lives in Nantucket and the recipe is perfect for stormy, cold evenings.

 Serve it with mashed potatoes, or pasta, or mashed fat-free cauliflower (recipe to follow).

Note: I would not transfer this recipe to a slow cooker, it will have far too much liquid. Slow cooker recipes need an entirely different formula for success. Also, please check your tapioca label if you need this recipe to be gluten-free, not all of them are. Minute Tapioca is gluten-free.

5 Hour Beef Stew

5 Hour Beef Stew


(6-8 servings)


  • 2 ½ lbs of lean beef stew meat, cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks the size as the meat
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks the same size as the meat
  • 6-8 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 finely chopped and 2 peeled but left whole
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional if your family does not like spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups of sugar-free vegetable juice, tomato juice or a large can of tomatoes, puree in your blender with additional water to make 2 1/2 cups if necessary
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, water or broth
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of tapioca, I used Minute Tapioca
  • Chopped parsley for serving


  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the beef with all the vegetables. Season with the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. No, you don’t need to pre-brown the meat! I know, I didn’t believe it either but I’ve made this many times and it works.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the tomato juice, wine or water or broth, mustard, and tapioca.
  4. Add this mixture to the meat and vegetables, stir to blend well.
  5. Transfer the stew to a large casserole or Dutch oven. Cover tightly and cook 5 hours without opening the lid or disturbing.
  6. Taste for salt, some tomato juices are very salty. Add more freshly ground pepper as desired.
  7. You can serve this directly or refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley


5 Hour Beef Stew

5 Hour Beef Stew

5 Hour Beef Stew

Use your imagination as far as vegetables. I used carrots, parsnips and shallots this time. In the past, I’ve added turnips, potatoes, boiling onions, kohibrabi, celery root and elephant garlic. Use this recipe as your canvas for what you find at the market or in your garden.

Serve with mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, pasta, or this amazing fat-free cauliflower mash. 1/8 (about 1 cup) of the recipe would be a phase 1 dinner with some brown rice or pasta. A sweet potato would also be nice with it.

If you have some, serve the pickled mustard seeds on the side. I did and it was a good counterpoint to the richness of the meat. Horseradish would also be good.

Add a salad freshly gathered from the garden, you have an easy weeknight dinner which feels much fancier than it is.

Fat-free Cauliflower Mash

Fat-free Cauliflower Mash with Beef Stew

2 – 3 servings


  • 1 head of fresh cauliflower, washed and broken into florets. Woody stems peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of fresh garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions or scallions, roughly chopped, white and light green parts only
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Add the cauliflower, scallions and garlic to a large pot.
  2. Add the chicken or vegetable broth
  3. Bring all back to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until everything is very tender
  4. Pour into a colander over a large bowl, saving the broth.
  5. When slightly cooler, puree in your blender or food processor, adding broth as needed until you have a smooth mash.
  6. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Save the cauliflower cooking water for soup.

This is creamy, and delicious. But…it is not rich mashed potatoes. You could add cream and butter but that would be defeating the purpose. If not restricting dairy, I might add some cottage cheese to the blender with the cauliflower. I think that would up the flavor profile a bit. Puree both until very smooth and creamy. Make sure you add enough salt, that is a key element.




January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 1 Day 2

January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 1 Day 2

It is day 2 of phase 1, first week of the Fast Metabolism Diet.

How are you doing? You don’t need to be on the diet to enjoy the healthy fat free recipes I am posting. And the idea of eating small meals throughout the day is not a new one, it keeps your body fueled and your blood sugar steady. There is also evidence that going many hours without food will put your body into starvation mode, so you actually retain fat. It makes sense if you consider our ancient ancestors, they would need to conserve in times of famine.

Here is my plan for the day, as a reminder here is the phase 1 program:

Breakfast – grain and fruit

Snack – fruit

Lunch – grain, protein, fruit, vegetable

Snack – fruit

Dinner – grain, protein, vegetable

You should plan your menu but here is my own:

Phase 1, day 2 – Tuesday menu

Breakfast – 1 cup Oatmeal cooked sous vide (or slow cooker) with freeze dried fruit (you can also cook your oatmeal the regular way). This recipe is a game changer for oatmeal and non-oatmeal fans alike.

Today I reheated the second canning jar of oatmeal. A few notes: I found the oatmeal made with oat milk rather than rice milk was smoother and naturally sweeter. I reheated it in the microwave (watch carefully) with a silicone cap. I find these silicone lids in various sizes invaluable in the microwave but also for storing foods in the refrigerator. They come in a variety of sizes and are useful for reheating anything from a cup of coffee to a large bowl of soup. I even use them as a lid for a frying pan when cooking eggs.

Overnight oatmeal with silicone lid

Snack 1 – orange

Lunch – Open faced sandwich (1 slice of sprouted wheat bread, mustard, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion), tangerine

Open faced chicken sandwich with mustard, red onion, tomato and arugula

Open faced chicken sandwich

Snack 2 – mixed fruit

Mixed fruit – blueberries, mango and strawberries

Dinner – Stir-fried Steak with Baby Bok Choy, Red Onion and Brown Rice

Steak and Bok Choy

You will find the links to the recipes imbedded in the titles.