Tag Archives: Food

Detox: Day Two

I went to see a nutritionist last week.  My goal was to bring down triglycerides, bring up good cholesterol, and bring down bad cholesterol.  I figure if I do those things, my weight will go down, my energy will go up, and I’ll feel generally better.

This week I began my diet modification.  I say “modification” because it’s not a diet – a diet suggests a start and stop.  This is a slow modification of what and how I eat.

All good low-glycemic diets, she says, begin with a detox period.  I’ve been asked many times about the detox, so I’ll detail it here:

This is my own summary, as relayed by my nutritionist and interpretted by me. I am not a doctor, a dietician, or an expert, but rather, an avid and curious reader, and you shouldn’t make diet or medical decisions based on what I’m telling you. But here you go anyway:

Your liver’s primary job is to filter toxins from your intake. In many cases, especially in overweight people busy eating bad food or, at best, enough calories to at least stay overweight, its busy digesting fats, protein, etc. most of the time. Sometimes, it has so much work to do, it can’t keep up. So it packages and stores fats and proteins as triglycerides and fatty acids. They are packaged for later, and the liver moves on to other things. The liver has lots of roles, though, and part of it, as you’re digesting, is to clean up after the digestion process.

When you eat carbs (sugars), your pancreas secretes insulin. The insulin response triggers the chaining together of glucose molecules from the blood into glycogen. The glycogen is “animal starch,” and it’s what we use for energy. As your body begins to get “full” – on in this case, more accurately and objectively, “postprandial,” which indicates glucose levels – insulin levels subside as production is decreased. Digestion is pretty complex, I understand a fraction of a fraction of a percent of how it works, but clearly, the liver plays a critical role and remains busy.

Most people, it seems, go through a constant cycle of sugar highs. They get hungry, they dump sugar into their bodies, they mass-produce insulin, the sugar is “dealt with”, and they crash, which makes them hungry for sugar, repeat ad nauseum. There’s another cycle of salt to sugar. I can remember times in my life of eating saltines and Chips Ahoy alternatively.

Now, when you detox – in my case, by eating ONLY certain veggies (and 3 servings of fruits a day for some simple sugars) – your liver doesn’t have anything to do most of the time. It digests your food quickly, its job is done in one to three hours. So, sitting idle, it eventually says, “Well, I might as well take care of that stuff I stored.”

It will start burning off the old stuff you’ve had stored. This process, apparently, doesn’t work forever. Eventually, the low calorie intake and the lack of carbs and protein can get very unhealthy very fast. So it’s only a week long. Then we add things like nuts and fruits and beans and fatty foods like avocado.

It does, however, in most people, “teach” your liver to go back to the stored fats and process them. And the idea is to adjust your food intake, both in quantity and in quality, over time. You want your organs working off of what you eat, not storing your food. It seems pretty evident to me that this requires you to reduce carbohydrate intake. Sugars are carbs, carbs are calories, so most low-calorie diets are actually masking the source of success: low carbs.

I’m entirely convinced that carbs are the problem in diets. Not carbs in general, but low-fiber, simple carbs that exceed the amount we need and expend. Look at all the shit we love to eat: chips, fries, cookies, ice cream, candy – it’s all carbs.

Back to the detox: in the first few days, I’m told to expect a massive drop in energy, general discomfort at the hunger pangs, unease that may come from any toxins being released from within those stored fats, and, of course, irritibility from the sugar withdrawal. But so far, so good. I’m about 36 hours in, and I’m still feeling okay. Yesterday late afternoon was tough, but I found some veggie burgers – Dr. Praeger’s – that were amazing. So good that I’d eat them off this detox. But sadly, I’m limited to 2 a day by the nutritionist, otherwise, I’d eat 10 a day.

By day 4, I’m promised that energy level should shoot up as body is growing more efficient and is oil and fat starved. Given the efficiency (and purity?) the metabolism ought to have by then, I think this is realistic. I’m optimistic about where this change is going to lead me, because I’m encouraged by everyone around me.

Updates to follow for sure.

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Slush Puppy

I miss Slush Puppies.

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Häagen-Dazs Five

Recently, ice cream maker Häagen-Dazs released a new line of ice creams called “ Five “. The idea behind this brilliant product is that the ice cream contains only five basic ingredients: including milk, cream, sugar, egg, and a flavor such as chocolate, mint, ginger, or brown sugar.  Haagan-Dazs Five

Color me intrigued.  I love natural foods and foods with few ingredients.  I’m amazed that so many potato chips can list ingredients as: “potatoes, salt, safflower oil.”  I love when foods don’t include preservatives.  I think natural foods are better for you and your environment.  And I love simple flavors in quality foods.  So I was definitely going to track down a pint of this goodness.  

So I ventured to my local Publix to check this ice cream out, only to be disappointed by the fact that they don’t have it. Marketing fail.  

Why? First, they enticed me with this: Kevin Rose tweeted about Häagen-Dazs Five a few weeks ago. So Häagen-Dazs sent him an entire case of ice cream! Then, Slashfood got their case of Häagen-Dazs Five .  So after this brilliant ploy to get me interested by invading all of my social media outlets, the ice cream isn’t even available mainstream yet? 


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Make Butter

Note to self: I want to make homemade butter.

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One of the Greatest Sandwiches I Ever Had

I don’t know how I came up with it – mostly by doing a mashup of several of the sandwiches on the lunch board at The Virgin Olive Market yesterday.  I’ve dubbed it “The Mushmerry,” because it’s a totally random name that makes no sense.  Here’s the build:

  • Smoked turkey
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (must be fresh, not slices)
  • Crispy bacon
  • Mixed green lettuce
  • Bartlett pear slices
  • Croissant

Now, this sandwich might sound a little weird, but let me explain. 

There are several varieties of pears, but Bartletts work best for a sandwich

There are several varieties of pears, but Bartletts work best for a sandwich

First of the all, the trick ingredient is the pears.  I’ve had turkey sandwiches with apple slices before – usually with some sort of cranberry chutney or something – but in this case, the pears provide a lovely crunch, a sweet but crisp texture that gives the whole sandwich I fresh taste you can’t emulate with lettuce or tomato.  

It also serves as a beautiful complement to the salty bacon.  Bacon makes everything taste better, and when you use real thick cut bacon, it’s just that much better.

The fresh mozzarella is also briney, but soft and rich as well.   I don’t know if there’s a better cheese than fresh mozzarella balls.  Although pretty mild in flavor, the texture is killer.  

The mixed green lettuce is perfect with it.  Rather than standard iceberg lettuce, which is good, but mostly bland and tasteless, this is like a small but elegant salad atop your sandwich.  The grassy green flavor adds a subtle complexity.    

Lastly, the sandwich is served upon a croissant, the second most regal of the breads (behind brioche, natch), which is buttery enough to sustain the sandwich without something as offensive as mayonaisse, something as greasy as oil and vinegar, or something as strong as mustard.  

Yes, the Mushmerry is my new favorite sandwich, and I’d highly recommend you try it too.

Update: Behold, the Mushmerry!


The Mushmerry sandwich

The Mushmerry sandwich

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The Omnivore’s Hundred

I found this interesting link today from a renowned foodie’s blog.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (or alligator, in my case)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle (it almost killed me, I’m really allergic)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Not too bad. 46/100. I’d love to see some readers’ or OSNewser’s results.

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Halfway Homemade Chicken Soup & Grilled Cheese

“Halfway Homemade chicken soup” starts with a mirepois. Then you add pre-made chicken broth and two leg quarters of a chicken and egg noodles. The grilled cheese is hand wrapped fresh mozzarella and peasant bread lightly brushed with grapeseed oil griddled until golden brown. A perfect rainy evening combo.

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New Grill

I am very excited, because today, my lovely wife bought me a new grill. It was precisely the one I wanted. I do a lot of cooking and really enjoy attempting grand recipes, and it’s going to be a lot of fun using this beast.  With 42,000 BTUs across three horizontal burners, porcelain-coated cast iron grates, and a 25 year warranty, this might be the last grill I buy for the next few decades.  

Weber Genesis 310


Sunday Eats

Marvelous day for good eats, eh? It was sunny and 95F here in Florida, the perfect day for a refreshing afternoon snack. After a quick trip to The Fresh Market , Jennifer and I munched on this:

The perfect afternoon snack: perfectly ripe sideless yellow watermelon slices with huge fresh organic blueberries.

Dinner was a very successful experiment. This is one of my favorites:

Veal Osso Bucco on saffron risotto. This is one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever made.

Not bad for a lazy Sunday.

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Cooking With Cocoa and Chilis

Since I’ve been learning a little more about cooking, I’ve been trying to focus a little less on just grilling meat. Aside from a 2.5 lb prime grade cowboy cut ribeye that I burned the other day (it was salvagable once I trimmed away a black layer), I’ve got the grilling thing mostly down.

So I started really looking into different dishes than I normally would make and I focused on using non-traditional exotic spices like Garam Masala. This week we started playing with cooking with cocoa and chilis. It’s farily common knowledge in the culinary world that cocoa powder and chilis complement each other. Even the Mayans used chilis in their hot chocolate. And now Lindt makes a chocolate bar with chilis. So we tried two dishes.

First was cocoa chili steak. It was a choice ribeye crusted with cocoa powder and crushed smoked chipotle dust had a sweet and hot aftertaste. The butter dripped tri-color rotini was a nice complement.

A much better example of the combination was the cocoa chili chicken mole pronounced (MOH-lay). The mole was entirely unique, the taste was both sweet and chocolatey, the cocoa was unmistakable. That said, every bite had a very slight aftertaste of chipotle. I’m not much for spicy hot food, but the post-bite burn was just enough to make it interesting. I was really happy with the tender sweet potato and the vidalia onions, which had absorbed so much of the sauce that they had a very sweet flavor. Overall, I was impressed with this recipe.

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