December 13, 2011

What Does a Typical Menu of Ancestral Eating Look Like?

One practice in the ancestral eating community that’s been very helpful to me is intermittent fasting aka IF. I have a history of binge eating and I have found that eating only 1 or 2 meals per day quiets my urge to binge. So, the first thing I can tell you about my daily menu is that it currently involves a small mid-day lunch and a main meal in the afternoon.

I don’t experience sharp hunger or lack of energy. In fact, since I don’t normally eat in the morning I never even think of food and I have plenty of energy even if my schedule causes me to miss one or both meals.

Meal #1: This is normally home-made yogurt. I buy organic whole milk and cream; I use ½ c. cream and 1 ½ c whole milk to make 2 cups of yogurt. I also eat fruit with this meal—one day it may be a whole grapefruit and the next a small salad of a fig, a date and a banana (sliced and mashed into the yogurt.) Per day, I’m eating between a half and a whole cup of yogurt.

Meal #2: This is my main meal. I like to be full when I finish. I start with a leafy salad, usually rich-colored leaf lettuce, chunks of fresh celery including leaves and slices of English cucumber (all my favorites, you can choose your own.) I use vinegar and olive oil on the salad and I like to let it marinate a bit while I cook the other foods.

I make slow-cooked stews with strong bone broths at the base. However, most of my actual meals are skillet meals.

Here’s a typical recipe:

  • Fry 1 or 2 pieces of uncured bacon. The crisp bacon comes out and is usually munched as an appetizer; the bacon fat stays in the skillet. If I don’t use bacon, I will either cut visible fat/skin off my meat/poultry to provide a little liquid fat or I will skim hardened fat off the top of my current slow-cooked stew. Another option is a spoon of coconut oil or beef tallow.
  • Okay, we now have a seasoned skillet with at least a little liquid fat. I now add any fresh/frozen vegetables that will be part of the finished meal. They are removed once cooked and fat is added to the pan if needed.
  • The next step is the main piece of meat—could be beef, lamb, poultry, fish, etc.—and cook it until what we’d call medium-rare. Now we start adding things to the skillet, leaving the main meat in it.
  • Once the meat is nearly cooked, I dump in 1-2 cups of slow-cooked stew. Ideally, the meat in the stew will be a different kind than what I’ve cooked. The broth in the stew should have a firm gelatin texture coming out of the fridge; I bring it to an active simmer and let it cook down a bit to more of a sauce.
  • While the broth is simmering in the skillet I’ll add any fresh/frozen/canned vegetables.

The final step is to sit down, munch the salad and enjoy every spoonful/bite of the skillet meal.

Note: My day of ancestral drinking includes at least one bottle of water kefir; more on that in another post. I usually drink the water kefir before or well after a meal because it is a strong probiotic drink and I want it to sail through my stomach when it’s empty.

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