I have had a lot of questions about paleo and vegan diets. Are you a vegan? Do you eat only paleo food? Do you eat gluten? Do you eat dairy? Do you eat sugar? I have been avoiding this topic for so long and I realized that I need to explain it. No, I’m not a vegan. I’m not on a paleo diet. I usually don’t eat gluten, dairy or refined sugar. I like to listen to my body and try to understand what I need. For example, if I feel like a little bit sick after eating too many healthy sweets, then obviously I ate a little bit too much. However, it doesn’t mean that I should judge myself. I just try to let it go. At least it was a healthy alternative and I don’t feel bad about myself. I rather try to balance it up with some other great ingredients such as green tea, ginger and peppermint, that all help me to digest the food. Usually, I try to get back the balance as quickly as I can because I would like to get back that good feeling and energy.
I don’t have anything against all those paleo or vegan diets. Most of my recipes are just like that. I think everyone should find their own way and try to listen to their body. If you feel good about a vegan or a paleo diet, then it’s perfect! If you feel good after eating processed junk food and that’s all you would honestly like to eat, then it’s always your own choice. Everybody can make their own choices and it’s not our place to judge them. I can only courage you to eat healthy food and tell you that I feel so much better when I eat healthy food. I can only guide you through my recipes and tell you that healthy food is delicious! If you like healthy food, then I’m already proud of you! If you feel like you don’t have any problems when you eat unhealthy food, then it’s not my place to tell you that you are doing something wrong. It’s your decision. Your choice. I can only inspire you to eat healthy food. However, when you do read my blog and use my recipes, then obviously you like healthy food or at least you would like to eat even healthier.
Some people feel good after eating only paleo food, others think that vegan is the right way. Some think that high-carb diet is the best, others feel good after being on a high-fat diet. Everybody is different and reacts differently to food. It’s all about trying different foods, listening to your body and finding what works for your body. You just have to be honest with yourself.
A few post back I wrote about healthy fats and why they are very important for us. I mentioned Dr Mark Hyman and his research about healthy fats. Now I have finished his book “Eat Fat, Get Thin” where he gives all the scientific background why he thinks that people should eat a lot of healthy fats and explains the “pegan” (paleo-vegan) diet. I didn’t read that book because I feel like I would like to lose weight. I’m happy with my body weight and for me reading all those books about healthy eating and eating that way is more about feeling energized that I could be more productive, happy and my mind would be clear. In the book, he explains all the research behind the two diets and puts together some parts of a vegan diet and other parts of a paleo diet. So, the word came “PEGAN”. The only difference between the vegan and the paleo diet is between animal foods, beans and grains. “Pegan” diet combines all of them.
As I said I’m not a vegan or I’m not on a paleo diet. I do eat meat but most of the time my fridge is full of fish. Sometimes I eat fish even four times a week. I mentioned before that I like to listen to my body and eat what I feel like. Usually, I’m not eating only vegan food or only paleo food. Every meal I try to make sure that I have enough protein and fat. However, when I read the book “Eat Fat, Get Thin”, then I realized that that’s it! Many people have asked me what do I eat. Can you give me some advice, what should I eat?
Usually, I couldn’t because everything again depends on my feeling. When I read the book, then I realized that this “pegan” diet describes quite well how I like to eat. I have been eating like this even before I heard about “pegan” diet. The book describes so well why that kind of diet works. The most amazing thing is that you eat A LOT of healthy fats and you almost never feel hungry because fats keep you fuller for longer. The only thing that’s different is that I eat a little bit too much healthy sweets. However, I have been working on my sugar addiction for some years and I have cut down on sugars as well.
What is “pegan” diet? What can you eat?
- Loads of vegetables and some fruit. Your plate is almost always at least 70 % of vegetables or other fresh local ingredients.
- Source of protein as a condiment is fish, chicken, eggs or organic meat. It’s just important to make sure that it isn’t full of chemicals (pesticides, antibiotics and added hormones).
- You can eat loads of nuts, seeds and other healthy fats. That’s exactly what I love to do! I always make sure that my pantry is full of nuts and seeds. I try to add some healthy fats to my every meal. Such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds or coconut butter.
What you can’t eat?
- Chemicals, preservatives, additives and artificial sweeteners – you just have to make sure that you don’t get any hidden weird stuff that you don’t really need.
- Refined Sugar – it’s one of the most addictive things in the world. Some say that it’s even more addictive, then cocaine. You can always eat some natural sugars (such as berries and fruit) but you should be reasonable with that as well. Even if you think that your brain needs sugar, then quite often your brain actually needs healthy fats.
- Dairy – this one might be a little bit tricky for most people. Many people don’t tolerate dairy or they are just used to eat it since childhood but as an adult, they really don’t tolerate it anymore. Many problems arise because of dairy might prostate cancer risk and be full hormones that might get your own hormones out of balance. I personally cut dairy off of my menu about four months ago just to get my skin back in balance and it worked (skin balance is quite often related to hormones). About a month ago I ate a little bit of dairy and I got out of balance again.
- Gluten – people actually don’t need gluten and there have been researches that say gluten creates inflammation, autoimmunity, digestive disorders and even obesity. Of course, in many cases, it also depends on if you have a celiac disease or not. I usually don’t eat it because I feel like my gut starts to go out of balance when I eat that. It’s a really rare occasion when I do eat gluten. I get most of the nutrients with nuts and seeds. Most of the gluten-free grains such as quinoa are allowed in this “pegan” diet. However, you shouldn’t eat too much of them.
If someone is more interested in a “pegan” diet, then they can look up Dr Hyman webpage or books and read all about the scientific background and research there.
Here is a little recipe that I created a while ago. Quite often I find that I would like to get some extra crisp for the fish and some extra healthy fats to keep me fuller for longer. So, I started to make crumbed fish which is now one of my favourite quick dinners. It’s very easy and you will get extra delicious fish because the crispy crumb makes sure that the fish will not go dry. It is served with paleo hollandaise sauce and roasted carrots. The crumbed fish is made out of almonds and it’s just one of the most healthy crumbs I have had. If you don’t eat fish, then look at my post with crumbed chicken or zucchini.
Crumbed Fish with Hollandaise Sauce & Roasted Carrots
serve for 4
- 500 g carrots (you can use different colours to make it more interesting)
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic
- Seasoning: salt pepper, thyme
- 1 -2 tbsp olive oil
- 90 g coconut butter for melting + 15 g cold butter + 15 g cold butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- pinch of salt
- Some extra salt, pepper, lemon juice for seasoning (later)
- 2 egg whites (lightly whisked)
- 80 g almond meal
- 350-400 g white fish fillets (pike-perch or some other wild white fish)
For serving: some salad leaves and fresh thyme
- Firstly, start with the roasted carrots:
- Preheat the oven to 175° C/ 347° F (grill).
- Peel and cut them a little bit longer than Julienne cuts.
- Add all the carrots with garlic and some seasoning on an oven pan and roast the carrots for about 15 minutes. After that add some temperature (200° C/ 392° F) and roast another 10-15 minutes until tender and golden.
- While the carrots are in the oven start with your hollandaise sauce. How to make paleo hollandaise sauce?
- Melt the coconut butter in a saucepan. Set aside.
- Whisk egg yolk in a different saucepan (or bowl) with hand wire whisk about 30-60 seconds until it goes a little bit thick. Then add lemon juice, water and salt. Whisk another 30 seconds.
- Add 15 g cold butter and place the bowl or a saucepan over barely simmering water (water bath) and keep whisking until the mixture goes nice creamy and quite thick (it shouldn’t be too hot and even if you see that it’s going to look like scrambled eggs, then you might save it over cold water bath). However, when you get the scrambled eggs then there’s not much to do and you can’t get Hollandaise sauce). It’s ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Be patient!
- Remove from the heat and whisk in another 15 g of cold butter.
- Start beating in the melted butter what you did before. While whisking the egg yolks mixture pour the melted butter drop by drop until the sauce begins to look more like heavy cream. Start adding more and more melted butter until you’re out of butter (like making mayonnaise by hand).
- When the sauce is ready, then set it aside.
I usually make a bigger batch of sauce. There’s enough sauce here for more than four people. You can always use it for later. It should stay refrigerated for a few days in a jar. There’s always possible to freeze the sauce. You just need to heat the refrigerated sauce in a water bath before using and if it’s too thick then add some 1 tbsp of hot water. You can always use it for eggs benedict!
- The sauce looks like scrambled eggs. You heat the egg yolks too quickly and the temperature was too hot. The heating part has to be slow and gentle.
- The sauce isn’t thick. Try to heat the egg yolks longer. The other problem might be the amount of butter. When you add too much butter at first, then the sauce will not thicken. The eggs just can’t absorb the amount of butter that quickly. If that happens, then you can always take one tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of sauce and whisk it together until it thickens. Then add the rest of the sauce. However, when there’s too much butter, then the sauce might still go to curd.
- The sauce is too thick. Beat in one tbsp of hot water, milk or cream.
- Finally, cook the fish:
- Place the fish fillets on a chopping board and cut about eight pieces.
- Put the almond meal into a bowl. Season it with salt, pepper and thyme. In another bowl beat the egg whites lightly.
- Put the fish fillets into the egg mixture and then coat with almond meal mixture (press the almond mixture on top of the chicken, use one hand for egg wash and another hand for the almond meal).
- Heat (medium temperature) a frying pan with coconut oil. Cook the fish until golden brown on each side (it doesn’t take long, remember that it keeps cooking when you take it off the heat).
- Serve the fish with roasted carrots, fresh salad leaves and hollandaise sauce. Enjoy!
What do you think about vegan, paleo or “pegan” diet? If you have tried some of them, what is your favourite? Do you feel like you have more energy when you eat healthy food? What is your biggest struggle when you try to eat healthy food?