I’ve started an Instagram account for the photos of what I’m eating. You can find me at LCHChef.
One of the things I love most about the LCHF way of life is not having to count calories or do anything complicated, but instead eat when I’m hungry and until I’ve had enough. It’s wonderfully simple.
I love my breakfasts for several reasons. I make breakfast after I’ve dropped the children at school, so there’s your first big clue: peace and quiet. I’m usually listening to the radio or a podcast, or chatting to DH (we work together from home, so spend a LOT of time together!). It’s usually a pleasant and unhurried environment.
I love the foods I usually incorporate into breakfast: vegetables, eggs, cheese and sometimes meat, all cooked in delicious butter. They often end up being large meals but at least 50% vegetable. I could work on this though and reduce the overall size of my breakfast.
On the whole, I find breakfast sees me right through til suppertime. Often I won’t even think about lunch unless something prompts me (most annoyingly, DH making something to eat, at which point I feel like something when I wouldn’t have done otherwise, grr!), but I’ve noticed lately that this is directly connected to how active I’ve been and I love that – isn’t it how it should be?
I’m not the most active person in the world and the first to admit it, but on Sunday when we’d been for a longish woodland walk and today when I did literally hours of housework (ironing, cleaning windows, hoovering, yomping out to the compost bins – active stuff) suddenly I wanted a snack at lunchtime. To me that suggests that although I have two stone to lose, my body is settling into a good rythmn.
I’ve seen numerous times comments along the lines of “I’m never hungry” when people describe their experience of LCHF. Every time that begs the question to me of how, then, do they know when to eat?
Maybe it’s just semantics (and pedantry on my part) and what they really mean is “I never stay hungry”, because LCHF is not a way of eating that requires you to endure hunger in the name of weight loss. If you want to do 5:2 that’s different (and I think I’ll be going back to that this week, quite likely starting tomorrow).
I’d be lost if I didn’t feel hungry. Hunger tells me it’s time to eat, and I’ll tailor what I eat to the time of day and my other activities. If I’m ravenous an hour before I’m due to go out to eat, I’ll just have a slice of cheese. If it’s 4.30pm and I’m home for the rest of the day, I’ll have a meal. I try very hard not to eat if I’m not hungry but just tempted.
Hunger is my friend. Now I just have to train my appetite to shout louder when I’ve had enough. I can eat an enormous amount at a sitting (I think that makes me a ‘feaster’ according to a recent BBC programme, though I think I’m also an emotional eater as getting annoyed with the children always has me wondering what treats I can earth up from the back of *that* cupboard). Returning to fasting and learning to eat a wee bit less are my next goals.
This morning I had the rare opportunity to weigh myself in optimum circumstances (post-poo, pre-breakfast, starkers) and wasn’t happy to see that I’m right back at my starting weight – 12st 3lbs. I really had hoped never to see 12 on the left again.
It’s around two months or so since I last weighed myself (our scaled have to sit on the wooden step up to our bedroom, so I really have to choose my moments to prance about in the nud, esp over Christmas with guests in the house). Oddly, I’ve felt that I’ve been doing very well with LCHF lately, so it’s quite possible that I’ve lost the weight I undoubtedly gained over Christmas.
I’ve noticed in the last couple of days that I’ve not been needing to undo my jeans button when I sit down, a really good litmus test for me. Overall I think things are good, but of course now I’m very motivated to shed four pounds and reach the magic 11 on the left! I know I do cheat a tiny bit here and there (a glass of wine, a square of chocolate; not every day but perhaps often enough to wreck things) so I’m going to have to cut that out. I’m going to buy some ketosis test strips too, which I expect will be a real eye-opener.
This is one of my absolutely favourite meals. It was originally by Nigel Slater, published in an Observer supplement, and meant to be served with yellow split peas. That’s a dreamy combination but YSPs are too high carb for me these days so I serve the curry with bean sprouts instead.
You’ll need aubergine, onion, cardamom pods, turmeric, cumin seeds, canned tomatoes and coriander. Soften chopped onion in a pan with lots of butter then add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and crushed seeds from 10 cardamom pods (I grind them with some rock salt). Give it a few minutes to cook then add 2 teaspoons of turmeric. Warning: I adore turmeric so added far too much the last time I made this, and it went rather paste-like, which wasn’t so nice. Stick to the 2 tsp! If you like your curries hot add whatever form of heat you prefer – curry powder, chilli powder, fresh chilli etc. Finally, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and leave it all to simmer.
While that’s on the go, slice and deep fry an aubergine. Add the fried slices to the curry sauce, stir in some coconut cream if you want the added silkiness, and serve with coriander.
It wasn’t intentional but I’ve settled into a habit of several meals that make the basis of my ‘diet’. The details vary and of course I eat other things here and there, but it quite suits me to eat like this as I don’t have the resources or the mental energy to create immensely imaginative meals three times a day. I like these meals because I usually have the ingredients in the house.
I thought it might be helpful to other people wanting to eat the LCHF way if I set out these few meals and foods. Don’t forget that I post photos of most of my meals to Instagram under @lchchef, if you want a quick visual suggestion. I find it so useful myself seeing what other people eat, especially when I’m getting a bit bored of my food, and that was my main reason for starting the Instagram account.
My standard breakfast is cooked: halloumi (bacon is a good substitute but I try to keep my meat intake to a minimum), an egg or two, chopped vegetables – whatever I have to hand but I like to include green leafy things such as kale or cabbage, and onion as it’s so good for your health – all fried in butter and if I have any cheese sauce left over I’ll stir that through. If I don’t then I’ll probably grate some cheese over the top. Usually accompanied by a cup of fresh coffee with double cream.
My favourite lunch is a tricoloré salad with all sorts of extra salad vegetables. Sadly avocados ripen at a glacial pace in the UK so often I have to do without them. I always add tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, mayonnaise, olive oil and pine nuts, sit it all on a bed of lettuce and top it with parmesan cheese. These salads always overflow the plate and keep me going for ages – much longer than you would usually expect for a salad.
An alternative lunch is cheese crackers. These are a stroke of genius (not one dreamt up by me) as they are so blindingly simple but really delicious. As you can see from the picture it’s just slices of cheddar cheese scattered with whatever you fancy – herbs (fresh or dried), peppers, olives, spring onion, tomato, mushroom etc. Just make sure that they’re chopped small enough to hold well in the resulting sheet of melted cheese. I nuke them for 3-4 minutes to get some crispy edges, then let it cool and cut up with scissors. They can be eaten on their own or topped with cucumber or other veg and they make a good base for my mackerel paté (I’ll be coming on to that). Some people take these a bit further and use the cheese as a pizza base, topping it with sauce, pepperoni etc.
Mackerel paté is an old friend, and a great way of eating oily fish. I mash up a tin of mackerel in olive oil (I use some of the olive oil, but if you used it all the paté would be too sloppy), a good dollop of cream cheese, a splash of lemon juice and, because I love it, a teaspoonful of horseradish sauce. That’s it.
If I need a quick snack I have a hard-boiled egg. We have hens so eggs are abundant, and a hard boiled egg is such an easy snack and the ideal LCHF munch. With a quick blob of mayonnaise you couldn’t ask for much more. Another easy snack is an avocado. It’s one of the most complete naturally-occurring foods, and with mayonnaise or olive oil it’s a very quick and simple but filling snack. Other snacks include a few Brazil nuts or walnuts, a piece of cheese or a slice of ham or other cold meat. A leftover cold chop with cream cheese is delicious.