Finding the Power Food of our Ancient Ancestors
What to Eat; that is the question! At some point you must break your long fast and resume eating. Keeping your newly slender figure will not be easy. Your body was made to fast for long periods and to live off its reserves; fasting is very healthy. But your body was also made to attempt to recover those reserves after the “starvation period” has ended. If you feed it much and particularly if you feed it a lot of carbohydrates like potatoes, corn and sugar, it will start storing fat again and storing it rather quickly.
Like a lot of people that have been dieting most of their lives I have tried the Atkins diet along with most of its derivatives. I respect Robert Atkins, but unfortunately I found his promise to eat until you are full and to never be hungry to be just a pipe dream.
But what I did discover, when working with the Atkins diet, was that if I did just a little calorie restriction and kept carbohydrates at bay I DID NOT REGAIN THE WEIGHT I HAD LOST FASTING. So an Atkins kind of diet, with some modifications, became the basis for my maintenance diet. Atkins helped me answer the question of what to eat. But I still wanted to keep calories down, so I switched to leaner meats like chicken, salmon and lean hamburger. But I still wanted to feel really full and be sure I was still getting a lot of nutrient dense food. And so I added a lot of vegetables: I eat up to three pounds a day of veggies, mostly green stuff and no corn or potatoes. So with due apologies to Dr. Atkins, I changed things just a little.
This is from my fasting journal:
Our Paleolithic ancestors relied on meat and fat for their calorie dense food. But they also ate a lot of “Paleolithic veggies” which were plants and leaves they gathered from fields and forests. These were mostly green stuff and were nutrient dense, but not calorie dense. And so our ancestors ate a lot of them, perhaps several pounds a day.
Then just as now they will still fill us up without packing on the pounds.
This morning I went out for a 4 mile jog walk, two laps around our urban lake. When I got home I felt starved. But I had stopped at a grocery store on the way home and I had got a ready-chopped, 1 ½ pound bag of broccoli, carrots and cabbage and to this I added a couple chopped hard boiled eggs, a little white chicken meat, some sunflower seeds and some dried cranberries and topped it off with garlic bread sprinkle and red wine vinegar.
It took me nearly an hour to finish, lots of chewing, and when I was done I was stuffed. It may have been around 600 calories, but it was to die for.
If you can get the hang of loving vegetables and eating a lot of them it will help your overall health and make maintaining weight loss after a fast much easier.
This is a basic outline of my maintenance diet:
About 1800 calories for a 6 foot active 68 year old male.
1 to 1 ½ pounds of meat (usually chicken, lean hamburger or salmon. You can do lots of other things also but avoid processed meats like hot dogs, ham, brats, spam etc.)
3 pounds of fresh vegetables. Any thing you like except corn and potatoes.
About ½ pound of fruit. Like two apples maybe. This is hardest for me; I can literally eat an entire watermelon at a sitting. The problem with fruit is the fructose. Your body will treat it as pure sugar and I have gained many pounds eating grapes and melons. You must restrict your fruit intake.
I use a lot of onions and garlic. I use real butter and never margarine. I eat eggs and mix them into my salads. I use some olive oil. I use a lot of red wine vinegar on my salads. Nuts are fine but they are a binge food for me so I use them with caution. I also eat cheese but with caution because it can become a binge food also. Water is always my preferred beverage.
I have very low blood pressure and do not worry about salt; I like salty things. But I do not like water retention. So I use potassium chloride, salt substitute, rather than sodium chloride which is regular salt. Salt substitute will taste exactly the same as real salt after just a day or two; it is real easy to get used to.
What I DO NOT EAT OR DRINK: Bread, rolls or any wheat products. Sugar and that includes sugar substitutes. Splenda is deadly for me and makes me very hungry. Processed foods of most any kind including canned soups, chips, and pre packaged dinners or almost anything wrapped, in a can or a jar; the list is endless. Processed vegetable oils and this includes virtually all salad dressing you buy. Try using melted butter, olive oil or red wine vinegar for your salad dressings. Hydrogenated soy stuff and high fructose corn syrup are poisons. I do not drink milk, fruit juices or alcohol. If I could drink coffee black I might consider it, but I cannot drink it black and there is nothing I can put in it that works for me. So I remain coffee free and caffeine free. Basically I am an ice water man.
If you are just a little bit hungry this will not seem like a restrictive diet to you and you can truly enjoy this kind of food day after day and not get sick of it.
Hunger is the best sauce in the world. ~Cervantes
The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor. ~Chinese Proverb
An empty belly is the best cook. ~Estonian Proverb
In spite of the restrictions there are many delicious dishes you can make with these fresh foods, mostly fresh meat and fresh vegetables. But to get you thinking about creative cooking here are a couple of my favorite recipes:
Our ancient ancestors were hunter gatherers; they did not have juicers. The guys went out and with pointed sticks and they hunted antelope, red deer, cave bear and even wooly mammoths. The girls went out and gathered baskets of nutrient dense green stuff, roots, nuts and seeds and an occasional egg from the forests and fields. It is believed that 60% of the biomass from these areas may have been edible.
Today we hunt and gather at Wall-Mart and I believe the abundance of vegetables to be found there is a key to healthy living and good maintenance following a long fast. Eating three pounds of vegetables a day is not too much and can make you feel full without making you fat. So in celebration of our hunter gatherer past I offer today my recipes for CAVEMAN SOUP AND SALAD.
Take a large frying pan; add a pad or two of real butter, cover, and sauté one or two onions over very low heat until they are soft. Then pile on the vegetables. A pound and a half or two pounds for one serving per person is not too much. I like a combination of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes and spinach. But you can add or substitute, kale, cabbage, celery, radishes, cucumbers, mustard greens, bell peppers and Brussels sprouts or just about any vegetable except potatoes or corn. Cover and steam on low heat until the vegetables are soft. Don’t drain and pour and mix into a large bowl. I like to add ample amounts of Italian Red Wine Vinegar (no alcohol) topped off with Garlic Bread Sprinkle.
If you are concerned about sodium and water retention you can skip the Garlic Bread Sprinkle and add a couple natural chopped garlic cloves to the above mix and use Salt Substitute, potassium chloride rather than sodium chloride. It is very easy to get used to.
Do not use salad dressings, margarine or vegetable oils. If you want to add calories and make the salad heavier use melted real butter as dressing.
Share the salad with your partner if you want to remain kissable.
Next CAVEMAN PEPPER SOUP: Do not buy soups in a can. They are mostly processed chemicals. First prepare the meat. I save a lot of money by buying chicken legs and thighs at Wall-Mart, a 10 pound bag costs about six bucks. Sometimes they go on sale for $4.50. Take one or two leg thighs, about two pounds raw, and cook them with some water for several hours in a crock pot until the meat is falling off the bone.
Drain the crock pot and save the liquid chicken stock and separate all the meat from the bone. Now I am a hungry Caveman and one of the treats I enjoy is while I am making this soup I chew on the soft bones and suck the marrow.
Pour the stock into a blender or food processor and add a couple red bell peppers or a bottle of sweet roasted peppers, a chopped clove or two of garlic, a few green onions, the chicken meat, some salt, some freshly ground black pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. Turn on the blender and mix until you have a smooth red mixture. Next transfer to a pot on the stove and cut up some celery and add to the pot. Sometimes I thin this mixture a little with some water. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro and serve hot with ice water as a beverage.
When you are done with this soup and salad you are going to feel stuffed, but you will not have blown your diet or spiked your insulin in a way that is going to make you keep craving more food.
If you have to have something sweet try melon, berries or an apple, but go easy on the fruit because it can spike your insulin and make you crave more. Have I answered the question, What to eat?