Tag Archives: low carbohydrate high fat

Easy Leek Carbonara – Grain-free

INGREDIENTS

There’s a restaurant in Portland, Oregon called Le Pigeon, which makes a leek carbonara that I read about in The Globe and Mail. My lovely aunt forwarded it to me. I will link to the recipe at the end of this post if you want to try out the original.

Although I don’t eat grains anymore and rarely crave bread or pasta – my Achilles’ heel is spaghetti carbonara. There is something so comforting about creamy fettucine noodles in an egg and parmesan sauce, complemented with rendered pancetta that I just can’t get out of my head. Until now.

This recipe replaces the boring fettucine noodles with strips of leeks, cut into the width of fettucine. Since leeks are probably my favorite vegetable, I decided this was a very, very good idea.

The reason I have messed with the great recipe from Le Pigeon is just to make it a little simpler to prepare on hurried nights, and to increase the fat content (obviously!)pancetta

EASY LEEK CARBONARA

SERVES 4 – 5 AS A MAIN DISH, 6 – 8 AS A SIDE

  • 3 big leeks
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of parmesan
  • 200g of pancettaleek noodles
  1. Cut up 200g of pancetta into small cubes. Cook these slowly in a heavy pot to render out the fat. I always cook for about 15 minutes while I’m getting the other ingredients ready.
  2. Boil a big pot of water.
  3. Trim off the hairy bottom and dark green tops from your leeks. Cut them lengthwise into long strips that resemble fettucine noodles. Rinse these well in a deep bowl of water or the sink to get off any dirt and grit.
  4. Grate about a cup of parmesan cheese.
  5. Crack 3 egg yolks into a large bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and mix together with a fork. Set aside.
  6. Once the water boils, add your leek “noodles” to the pot and boil for about a minute. “Parboil” if you will.egg yolks
  7. Finish rendering the pancetta, being careful not to overcook or your cubes will be crunchy rockettes. Most recipes will drain off the fat at this point, but not me! I spent good money on fancy pancetta from the Healthy Butcher and I’m not throwing any of it away.
  8. Strain the leeks after a minute. At Le Pigeon they are all fancy and plunge the leek “noodles” into an ice bath. I wouldn’t bother, though it is nice to dry them a bit on a towel, and then  add the dry “noodles” to the finished pancetta and hot fat. Toss like crazy in the warm, heavy pan.
  9. Once all the “noodles” have been coated with pancetta fat and the pancetta is evenly distributed, and the leeks have cooked a little more to their desired softness, quickly use some tongs to dump the entire pan into the prepared bowl of yolks and parmesan.  Stir quickly so that the sudden heat doesn’t make the yolks “cook”. (They will “temper” with the heat, but not actually cook). stirring
  10. Serve out smaller portions than you think you can eat, and top with some extra parmesan and fresh ground pepper.

If you think regular carbonara is heavy, this is about twice as heavy. But what I mean instead of “heavy” is filling. What is so remarkable is that even after a large portion, there is no bloating or heaviness – just fullness. I swear you cannot overeat this because it’s just so rich.  And absolutely delicious!

If you are not a fan of leeks, I still think you should try this. Boiling the leeks for a minute before the sauté seems to soften their flavor quite a bit. And yet that subtle leek-ness is still there, making this carbonara dish so much more layered and intense than the standard fare. easy leek carbonara

MACRONUTRIENT BREAKDOWN

One cup of standard carbonara (and who only eats one cup of pasta at a sitting?) is 43g of carbohydrates. One cup of this Easy Leek Carbonara (and you probably can’t eat a full cup) is 7g of carbohydrates.  This recipe also contains 19g of protein and about 32g of fat per serving/cup. If you want less protein, use less pancetta.

As it is, this recipe has 74% of calories from fat, 20% from protein and 6% from carbohydrates. Very LCHF.

What else? Each serving has 25% of your RDA for Calcium, 10% of your Iron, 27% of your Vitamin B12, 28% of your Phosphorous, plus a decent amount of Selenium, Riboflavin, Folate, Potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6.

HOW TO PORTION THIS RECIPE

If you are alone and want to make this for yourself, just use one leek and one egg yolk, with a smaller amount of parmesan and pancetta. You will have leftovers. Generally, a big leek cooked this way will be too much for one person or just enough for two sides  – so gage the recipe that way.

FURTHER READING

Original and slightly more exciting recipe from Le Pigeon restaurant (includes lemon juice! red pepper flakes!)

Read about why leeks are so awesome and also support cardiovascular health. Try to eat something from the allium family every day (garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, etc).

A reminder about just what LCHF stands for (low carbohydrate high fat) and why it matters

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Reset Days

Sometimes a weekend gets away from you when there are birthdays and holiday parties to host and attend. I’m talking excessive wine and champagne, buttercream cakes, croissants, scalloped potatoes, chips and crackers, candy and chocolate. Well that was my weekend anyway. No big thing, let’s do a reset.

Today I’m going to eat a moderate amount of nutrient-dense food (let’s say 1400 calories for my body size and activity level), and I’m going to consume my proteins and carbohydrates exclusively during an 8-hour window, between noon and 8pm. But I can eat fats in the morning to give me energy and bowel motility for the day ahead. This plan is specifically tailored as an LCHF (Low Carbohydrate High Fat) day to reset my fat burning potential and redirect my body into an appropriate state of ketosis.

START OF THE DAY

I’m going to start with a “Butter Coffee”. I brew a long espresso over a Tbsp of organic, pasture butter and a Tbsp of coconut oil. You could also add some boiling water if your espresso isn’t “long” enough. Then I shake in some organic cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla or a few shakes of vanilla bean powder. Then I dump this oily mess into my Vitamix or blender, and blend on high for about 10 seconds to really emulsify the fats. My long espresso turns from black to creamy caramel. I pour it into my favourite mug and enjoy.

This gives me a lot of energy for my morning, and also gets my bowel motility going pretty rapidly. I’m sharing that because I know you want to know. But I am adjusted to this amount of fat, which is an important detail. Sometimes I do 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Sometimes I’m just that kooky. If you are not used to eating this much fat, try starting with just 1/2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Maybe the next day add 1/2 Tbsp of butter, and then work up from there. Too much fat too soon can literally make you feel nauseous, especially coconut oil. But if you are adjusted to it, it makes you feel great: alert, energized and moisturized!

Butter Coffee 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp coconut oil: 25g of fat and about 220 calories

BREAKING THE FAST: LUNCHTIME

At noon, or closer to 1pm if convenient, I’m going to eat a pretty easy lunch of a can of sardines packed in olive oil or water (not soybean or canola oil), and a parsley salad.

The can of sardines I have handy (Open Seas Portugese sardines) has 11g of fat and 15g of protein.

parsley saladThe parsley salad is a revelation that I discovered in Istanbul. It’s basically tabouli without the couscous. I take 2 bunches of washed flat-leaf parsley and 1 bunch of washed mint and chop them in a food processor with some cucumber. You can also add some lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic and scallions. Then I add some grape tomatoes and a dressing of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, a touch of dijon mustard and fresh garlic.

Why this salad is a revelation is that parsley is off the charts with nutrient density. 1 serving of this salad is worth about 2 cups of parsley, which gives you 303% of your Vitamin A for the day, 213% of your Vitamin C, 41% of your iron and 17% of your Calcium – not to mention over 2000% of your Vitamin K1, 46% of your Folate, 19% of your Manganese and 10%o four Phosporous. There’s more to parsley, but the numbers are starting to get boring and smaller.

And as far as macronutrients go, 2 cups of parsley has 1g of fat, 8g of carbohydrates and 4g of protein. This is a salad winner. Add some olive oil and vinegar dressing as the fats and acids will help your body metabolize the nutrients in the salad.

lunchSNACKING

First of all I’m going to drink a lot of tea today, specifically nettle tea. Nettles do a million great things, including stimulating the lymph system and boosting the immune system – great at this time of year.

If I feel like a snack today, I’m going to have some high quality olives. 10 large olives have about 5g of fat and 3g of carbohydrates. In addition to their blood pressure lowering properties (due to high monounsaturated oil content), olives are packed with phytonutrients like phenols and terpenes that specifically interrupt the life cycle of breast cancer and gastric cancer cells, and also protect DNA from oxidative damage.

GET READY FOR DINNER

As I’m calling this a “reset day”, these meals are going to be quick and easy.  I’m going to have a 3-egg omelette for dinner with 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese inside. The whole thing will be cooked in butter. I might add some scallions and hot sauce if I feel like it.

I might have a few radishes on the side as a garnish, or a little scoop of fermented carrots and beets as an additional condiment.

DESSERT

Okay it’s not fair to call this dessert. But it’s the most “carby” item of the day, so it sort of fits into this category. After I’ve digested dinner but before my “8 hour window” is done, I’m going to have 1 cup of home-made whole milk kefir. You could have a little bowl of yoghurt or some whole milk kefir (unflavored) from the store. I really like to finish my day with some heavy duty probiotics like this, so that they can get to work on my digestive system overnight. Also, the sugar and the fat in the milk will keep me from getting at all hungry over the night, and will help guide me to sleep.

LET’S LOOK AT THIS 1400 CALORIE DAY

I think I should just re-state that I don’t “count calories”, but that they are still a handy marker for how much food I have eaten. When I am adjusted to eating more fat, I tend to consume less calories overall and yet feel more satiated.

Today’s meals and condiments break down to a ratio of calories from 70% fat, 11% carbohydrates and 19% protein.

Stated another way: 117g fat (51g saturated), 45g carbs (15g sugar) and 70g protein.

I will also have eaten over 1000% of my daily Vitamin A, over 400% of my Vitamin C, 122% of my Calcium, 84% of my iron, 40% of my Vitamin D, over 3000% of my Vitamin K1, etc.

My Vitamin D from today’s foods is a little low, so I will take my cod liver oil supplements like I always do to compensate. My B vitamins are also a little low (only meeting about 60% of required B6, B12 and Folate), so I will supplement with a topical Vitamin B cream, which is designed to bypass digestion and get right into my cells. I’m also only hitting about 50% of my Magnesium requirements, so I’m going to use a topical Magnesium gel and an Epsom salts bath. And as Vitamin K2 is either not measured in our foods or not present, I am always going to take a K2 supplement (mine comes with Vitamin D as well).

This is a pretty good reset day. Probably a little higher in protein for me than necessary, but basically a good day.

WHERE TO GO FROM HERE

This week I’m going to do the Butter Coffee regime every morning. For lunch I’ll switch it up with a kale salad and some boiled eggs. For dinner I’ll have lamb chops or wild salmon with some broccoli or leeks. I’ll try to finish off every day with some kefir.

I’ll let you know how long this lasts before I accidentally eat a bag of chips.

SOME FURTHER READING

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