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 – Phase 3

January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 3

It’s time for phase 3, three days of phase 3. After phase 1 and 2 this will feel like a banquet. Phase 3 is designed to be good for your heart, hormones and it generates heat to speed weight loss. It is a high healthy-fat, moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and low-glycemic fruit phase. Frankly it is the way I could eat every day.

You can eat olives, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, hummus, almond butter, berries, wild rice, sprouted grain bread, salmon and sweet potatoes to name a few. Oh my!

Look for my phase 3 recipe for Coconut Curry with Chicken (I will post it on Saturday or Sunday morning). It is a perfect Sunday supper and can be made completely vegetarian if you leave off any meat and add chickpeas.

Winter Coconut Curry

What does a phase 3 day look like:

Breakfast – fruit, fat/protein, grain, veggie

Snack – healthy fat, veggie

Lunch – fat/protein, veggie, fruit

Snack – healthy fat, veggie

Dinner – fat/protein, veggie, grain/starch

It’s the weekend (Friday is the beginning of the weekend isn’t it) and many of you are eating out with friends. Before you go to the restaurant, take a look at the menu and plan your meal. I am eating out tonight and realize that the place chosen does not have a lot of healthy options, but there is a dinner salad and I can add a lean protein. Ask for the salad dressing on the side, olive oil and vinegar are allowed in phase 3. Ditto you can have tomatoes and avocado, a few chickpeas, and grated carrots. Sounds like the dinner salad at most restaurants, leave off the croutons.

One of the amazing things about the Fast Metabolism Diet is the reduction of cellulite and flab. Most diets leave you with excess skin and flab to deal with. This diet seems to tighten your skin as you loose weight. At the end of the diet last May I didn’t have those unsightly rolls which require Spanx to prevent roll over.

My day is going to look like this:

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast, half an avocado, sliced tomato and red onion. Tomato counts as a fruit here. (You can tell I like onion. James Beard used to eat onion sandwiches, I’ve always thought that sounds delicious).

Phase 3 breakfast

Snack – hummus with cucumber sticks

Lunch – tuna salad with sliced cucumber, with 1/2 grapefruit

Tuna and 4 cooked shrimp, minced and mixed with 2 tablespoons of hummus, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion, red chili flakes and a squeeze of lemon. Taste for seasoning and serve with sliced cucumber dippers.

Tuna/shrimp salad

Tuna/shrimp salad with cucumber slices as dippers

Snack – hummus with celery

Dinner – mixed salad with lean protein (I will let you know how I do at the restaurant). They turned out to have a wonderful steak salad on the menu. I only had to ask them to leave off the cheese and bring me plain vinegar and olive oil for a dressing. 

How are you doing? How are you feeling?

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.

 

January – Stir-fried Steak with Baby Bok Choy, Garlic, Ginger, Red Onion and Cannellini Beans

January – Stir-fried Steak with Baby Bok Choy, Garlic, Ginger, Red Onion and Cannellini Beans

This recipe is a quick weeknight dinner idea. You could make this vegetarian by leaving out the steak (of course) and adding an extra can of cannelini beans or, even better, use edamami beans instead. The addition of the beans allows you to stretch the steak, making more servings.

Stir-fried Steak with Baby Bok Choy, Garlic, Ginger, Red Onion and Canellini beans

Steak and Bok Choy

Serves 3 – 4 

  • 12 oz of steak, cut into strips
  • About 4-6 baby bok choy – mine were on the large size so I used only 4
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons of tamari or to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse cannellini beans
  2. Cut off the end stems of Bok choy freeing up the leaves
  3. Cut the stems into slices and leave the leaves whole.
  4. Separately rinse the stems and leaves of bok choy, dirt hides in the stems where they attach to the base. I found a salad spinner helpful. Dry each but keep them separate.
  5. Chop the onion into medium dice and finely chop the garlic
  6. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger and the pinch of crushed red pepper flakes with 1/4 Tsp salt in 1 Tbsp of water in a non-stick pan on medium heat until softened. Add more water if things get too dry but don’t add too much. The leaves and stems of the bok choy will release water.
  7. Add in bok choy stems, steak and 1 tablespoon of tamari, cook until the stems start to soften and steak looses it’s pink color, about 3 minutes
  8. Uncover and add the leaves of the bok choy and the beans, use tongs every minute while sautéing for another 3 minutes til tender but still crisp.
  9. Add the second tablespoon of tamari and toss.
  10. Remove the steak and vegetables to a serving dish, cook down any liquid until saucy and pour over the dish.

Note: a drizzle of roasted sesame oil would be delicious. Extra tamari at the table is a welcome addition.

I realize that many of the recipes over the next few weeks are on the comparatively bland side compared to my “usual” recipes. That is because they are designed to support a group who are following the Fast Metabolism Diet for 28 days. Don’t worry, the jacked up seasoning will be back. And, I may come back and “redo” some of these recipes.

But, meanwhile I think many people like simpler food without a lot of fancy ingredients. At the end of 28 days last May my taste buds had changed, I detected the sweetness of bok choy and the meatiness of the steak, my ability to taste more subtle flavors had become more acute. I didn’t need as much seasoning. Some folks are naturally that way and so these recipes will work for them as written. Feel free to use the recipes as a jumping off spot to your own creativity.

Serve with brown rice.

This is a phase 1 lunch or dinner for the Fast Metabolism Diet. In phase 1 serve it with with 1/2 cup of rice (the beans count as part of your starch). It is also a  phase 2 lunch or dinner prepared without the beans.

Steak and Bok Choy

Steak and Bok Choy

Beans and Stems Added

Steak and Bok Choy with Cannellini beans

I love your comments and ideas, please keep them coming.

January – Fast Metabolism… Get Ready

January – Fast Metabolism… Get Ready

Here is a brief background sketch of the program and an easy filling soup recipe for a phase 1 lunch or dinner.

The 3 phases of each week are designed to shake up your bodies routine approach to food by keeping it surprised. It does that by flooding it with vital nutrients you may have been missing, but never in the same way for more than two or three days in a row. According to Haylie this strategy keeps your body working, surprised, and supported. It reverses the biochemical patterns that have slowed your metabolism. She calls it a wake up call that will trigger a calorie and fat burn.

If you have been on a low carbohydrate or low fat diet for years, your body has gotten used to it. It’s much like doing only one type of exercise, the other muscles haven’t been used.

Phase 1 – Days 1 and 2 – Unwind Stress and calm your adrenals

Days 1 and 2 are high in carbohydrate-rich foods, natural sugars from fruit, and B and C containing foods. We will be eating moderate amounts of protein but low fat. Days 1 and 2 are designed to calm your adrenals.

What does this look like? Three carbohydrate rich meals with moderate protein and low fat, plus 2 fruit snacks.

Phase 2 – Days 3 and 4 – Unlock stored fat and build muscle

These two days are the reverse of days 1 and 2. Days 3 and 4 are high-protein, high-vegetable, low-carbohydrate and low-fat. They are high in foods that support liver function. I personally found these two days the most difficult.

What do they looks like? Three high protein, low-carb, low-fat meals, plus 2 protein snacks

Phase 3 – Days 5, 6 and 7 – Unleash the burn, Hormones, Heart and Heat

These three days are high healthy fat, moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein, and low glycemic fruit. They are designed to support your heart and hormones, increasing your bodies fat burning ability.

What do these days look like? Breakfast has a grain, veggie, healthy fat, and fruit. Lunch is a vegetable plus fat and fruit, dinner is protein, veggie and a grain. There are two snacks of a healthy fat and vegetable.

A note on exercise: The book suggests cardio activity in phase 1, weight lifting or a muscle building activity in phase 2, and yoga or another relaxing activity (even getting a massage) in phase 3.

Guidelines

These are also called Rules, but I dislike that word. It reminds me of grammer school or the backs of doors in 3rd story walkup hotel rooms. These guidelines are important though.

Here are the do’s:

  • You eat five times a day – you are turning up your metabolism, that means your body needs consistent food at regular intervals. Do not skip meals or snacks even if you are not hungry.
  • Eat every three to four hours except when sleeping. This means that if you stay up late you may need to eat an additional phase appropriate snack.
  • You need to eat within 30 minutes of waking. Again, you want your body to have that fuel. That means you may need to plan breakfast the night before. If you have to rush out the door, have your snack and eat breakfast later.
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day, for me that means 8 cups of water. I found keeping track in a journal or on my Fitbit app was helpful.
  • Eat organic when possible.
  • Meats should be nitrate-free. Nitrates in food slow down the breakdown of fat, not what you are trying to do.

And the don’ts:

  • No wheat (exception is sprouted wheat)
  • No corn
  • No dairy
  • No soy except for tamari and Bragg Liquid Aminos, which are fermented. Exception: if you are a vegetarian or vegan you can use organic, non-GMO tofu or tempeh or edamame as a replacement for meat. Phase 1 and 3 have vegetarian options but this is more difficult in phase 2 without soy.
  • No refined sugar
  • No caffeine
  • No alcohol
  • No dried fruit or fruit juices
  • No artificial sweetners
  • No fat-free diet foods

How much food can you eat? It depends on how much weight you would like to loose. In my posted recipes I will give portion sizes for less than 20 pounds. If you would like to loose more, you can actually eat more. Email or comment to me and I will give you the portion sizes. I found an inexpensive food scale useful, as well as measuring cups.

I strongly suggest buying the book for more information. This is only an introduction. The book also has recipes in the back, as well you can purchase additional books with more recipes. I will be posting what I eat on the program, but there are other options. For example, I don’t usually eat smoothies, however she has several recipes for them in the book.

Here is a recipe for a phase 1 dinner, add a fruit for a phase 1 lunch. Make it ahead, you can even freeze it. A serving will be about 2 cups.

Turkey, white bean and kale soup

Turkey, white bean and kale soup

4 servings of about 2 cups each (2 1/2 quarts)

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped celery including some of the tops
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots, not too small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups of vegetable, turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 cups of chunked winter squash (butternut, kaboucha, or delicata), peeled if necessary (you can often find chunked butternut squash already prepared at the grocery store).
  • 3 cups of chopped kale (I used baby kale and added it whole just before serving, it was only slightly wilted)
  • 2 cans of white beans or cannellini beans or 1 of each, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, saute the turkey, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of water with a teaspoon of salt until beginning to soften. Add an additional tablespoon of water if things seem to be sticking.
  2. Mix in the thyme, rosemary, cumin, bay leaf, and chili powder. Let simmer for a minute or two with the turkey and vegetables.
  3. Add the broth, squash, kale (if using regular sized kale), and beans. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. If using baby kale, add it to the soup just before serving so it is only slightly wilted.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

For a vegetarian version, add another can of beans (maybe black bean or adzuki).

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

 

January – Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

January – Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

It’s soup weather here in the Northern Hemisphere. This warming, healthy, low fat and very filling recipe fits the bill. It is wonderful with a slice of toasted sourdough bread on the side and a substantial meal on it’s own.

The only fat in this recipe is from the turkey, a meat which tends to be low in fat to start.

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

Turkey, white bean and kale soup

4 servings of about 2 cups each (2 1/2 quarts)

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped celery including some of the tops
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots, not too small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups of vegetable, turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 cups of chunked winter squash (butternut, kaboucha, or delicata), peeled if necessary (you can often find chunked butternut squash already prepared at the grocery store).
  • 3 cups of chopped kale (I used baby kale and added it whole just before serving, it was only slightly wilted)
  • 2 cans of white beans or cannellini beans or 1 of each, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, saute the turkey, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of water with a teaspoon of salt until beginning to soften. Add an additional tablespoon of water if things seem to be sticking.
  2. Mix in the thyme, rosemary, cumin, bay leaf, and chili powder. Let simmer for a minute or two with the turkey and vegetables.
  3. Add the broth, squash, kale (if using regular sized kale), and beans. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. If using baby kale, add it to the soup just before serving so it is only slightly wilted.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

For a vegetarian version, add another can of beans (maybe black bean or adzuki).

2 cups of this soup would be a phase 1 lunch or dinner. If you are not avoiding dairy, a spoonful of freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top would be delicious.

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

Celery, Onion and Carrots

Large soup pot, this was my mother’s

Saute the turkey, onions, carrots, celery and garlic with a little salt

Delicata Squash, you don’t need to peel it

Turkey, White Bean and Kale (not yet) Soup

 

Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

 

January 30 Day Challenge, The Fast Metabolism Diet – Get Ready…Get Set

January 30 Day Challenge, The Fast Metabolism Diet – Get Ready…Get Set

A friend recently sent me a link to an article in the NY Times about resolutions. It claims that most resolutions are broken by January 8. We have a big head start since we are not even starting until Monday, January 8! It had some interesting notes on change and sticking to it, will-power and self control alone will not get your through the next 30 days.

In the article “The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions”, David DeSteno writes that:

“pride, gratitude and compassion, whether we consciously realize it or not, reduce the human mind’s tendency to discount the value of the future. In so doing, they push us not only to cooperate with other people but also to help our own future selves. Feeling pride or compassion has been shown to increase perseverance on difficult tasks by over 30 percent. Likewise, gratitude and compassion have been tied to better academic performance, a greater willingness to exercise and eat healthily, and lower levels of consumerism, impulsivity and tobacco and alcohol use.

If using willpower causes stress, using these emotions actually heals: They slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. By making us value the future more, they ease the way to patience and perseverance.”

We are each other’s support team. Whether you plan to give up sugar or alcohol, any single one or all 5 of them (wheat, sugar, alcohol, dairy, and caffeine), we can be there for each other. I am grateful for your support, it will keep me on track. And since we are doing this together, I feel compassion for your struggle since it is my own as well. Whether it is wine-oclock you miss, or that instant wake-up jolt of coffee, or the temporary high that sugar gives you…I am there with you.

Let’s not look at this as deprivation. Look at it as bonding new friends, as resetting those taste buds, as resetting your own body’s metabolism to prime shape for 2018 so you can take on the year with all systems on “go”. There were many personal challenges for me in 2017, it was a difficult year. Downsizing, selling a home of 27 years, facing cancer again, and the current political situation all took a toll. I am ready for that reset. Happy to have you with me.

So, let’s talk about preparations. I found that buying the book had benefits, the food lists are right at your fingertips for each phase of the diet. It was also available as an e-reader. The first week the whole system seems complicated, I will try and simplify it for you. It does get easier. But the food lists are essential. My intention is not to reprint the book but rather guide you through the next 30 days with suggestions, menus, recipes, and my own experience. I would love to hear about your own.

On Haylie’s website I found a list of essential foods to have on hand. Here is the link to the essential grocery list.  Below I have rewritten it with my own comments:

Grains and Nuts

  • Steel cut oats or old fashioned rolled oats (no sugar added) – stay tuned for an overnight crockpot or sous-vide oatmeal recipe
  • Quinoa – lots of folks like quinoa, myself not so much, but it’s good for you
  • Brown rice
  • Raw nuts (no peanuts)
  • Raw sunflower seeds – I didn’t find these essential but nice mixed with other nuts as a snack in Phase 3

Freezer Section

  • Frozen berries if they are not in season, also frozen mango
  • Frozen shrimp and/or fish

Non-Dairy Items

  • Eggs and egg whites (I find the processed egg whites faintly disgusting but that is only me). I use the whites from a fresh egg and mix the yolk into my dog’s food, it is very good for their coats.

Meat and Fish

  • Turkey or chicken breasts – I will be cooking a whole turkey breast for “leftovers”, recipe to be posted for sous vide but you can easily roast it in the oven as well. Boneless turkey breasts are on sale now with the end of the holiday season. I bought one and put it in the freezer.
  • Deli meat without any nitrates – use turkey or lean roast beef
  • Lean ground turkey or beef – stay tuned for an excellent chili recipe which can be frozen
  • Turkey, beef, elk or bison jerky – Unfortunately I could not find a tasty one that was commercially available without additional added sugar…maybe you will have better luck. Or, you can make your own. Here is a link to the recipe, I haven’t tried it yet but will and will post the results.
  • Canned tuna and/or salmon in water
  • Tofu if you are a vegetarian

Condiments and Pantry Items

  • Chicken, beef or vegetable stock – try to find organic brands without added sugar, or make your own. I will post an easy recipe for chicken and vegetable stock.
  • Canned or dried beans – maybe time to use that Instant Pot you got as a present?
  • Sea salt or Himalayan salt – those salts have a higher mineral profile compared to table salt and less additives.
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tamari – this is a wheat free soy sauce which is fermented. You may find it in the Asian section of the grocery store.
  • Olive oil – extra virgin
  • Herbal tea without caffeine – try to buy organic, I am fond of Numi’s Turmeric Three Roots with ginger, licorice and rose.
  • Sparkling water – at wine-oclock try sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime, maybe it is the ritual you crave.

Basic Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

  • Apples
  • Fresh berries if in season and affordable
  • Oranges
  • Lemons and limes
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale or spinach
  • Green or red peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yellow and/or red onions
  • Garlic

Nice-To-Have Extras

  • Almond, coconut, and/or oat milk
  • Coconut water – replace the water with it when cooking rice or oatmeal, it’s a taste treat
  • Sprouted grain bread and tortillas. You may find Ezekiel in the freezer section. I found several other options and you can find even more online. I must admit that I would put these in the essential list.
  • Brown rice pasta (or quinoa pasta if you enjoy it)
  • Turkey bacon – try to find one that is sugar and nitrate free. Let me know if you do, I could not.
  • Stevia or birch based xylitol – I am going to add my personal take on this one. Haylie allows it on the diet. But, one of the purposes of the program (in my mind) is to retrain your taste buds to the inherent sweetness of foods. It might take a couple of weeks for you to detect the nuttiness and mild sweetness of oatmeal, but it will come.
  • Freeze dried berries without sugar if they are out of season.