There was a lot to do and changes to make when I was switching over to a Low Carb High Fat way of life. And it is a way of life, not a diet.
Aside from getting my blood sugar under control and the weight loss, my other issue of joint pain due to osteoarthritis has disappeared. My knees used to give out on me every now and then, but no episodes since I cut out high carbohydrate food and sugar. And my blood pressure is completely normal too.
In these five posts I will tell you how I got my kitchen, and myself, organized to fit my new LCHF lifestyle.
Part 4 – Tips and Tricks
These are some of the things I do – some are for convenience, others because it makes me feel good and others because I hate waste.
- Making my own Stock
I save all the bones and scraps from roasts, steaks, chickens, etc. and keep them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. When I have a couple of bags full I make stock out of them, and freeze it so I always have some on hand. I combine the different bones so my stock is always “generic”, but I could put different types in different bags – I just don’t bother.
I throw the contents of the bags into a pan and roast at 400F until they are well browned, then put in my crock pot (covered with water of course) on high for most of the day or overnight. I also add in the scraps of vegetables I have available – celery, onions, etc.
I’ll add water as the level drops down. I’ve often left it for two days. Then I drain off the stock into storage containers or Ziploc bags and place in the fridge to cool and set (the stock actually sets up due to the gelatin in the bones), then put in the freezer.
- Vegetable Preparation
When I buy vegetables I deal with preparing some right away. I rinse green onions and wrap the root end in a wet paper towel and place in a plastic bag. I’ll do the same with fresh herbs and asparagus – stem ends wrapped in a wet paper towel. They stay fresher much longer this way.
I wash celery and cut into pieces and store in a container. I save the hearts and leaves, chop them up and freeze in a Ziploc bags for soups, etc. I peel cucumber, slice and store in a container in the fridge.
I like having things ready to eat. Depending on what vegetables I’ve got I’ll rinse, clean and cut-up those as well – green peppers for example.
I buy avocados when they are as unripe as possible – very hard. I leave them in a basket on the counter until they just start to give when held firmly, then I put them in the fridge until I want to eat them. I find I lose less of them this way.
All the unuseable vegetable scraps, egg shells and coffee grounds/used tea go out to the composter. I take apart the coffee pods and tea bags to get it out – then dispose of what is left appropriately. I also bring home coffee grounds and organic waste from work to add to my compost. Used coffee grounds are a great much all by themselves and I use them on my flower beds.
- Bulk Shopping
I buy nuts, certain spices, and some baking ingredients like psyllium husk powder in bulk. It works out cheaper and the bulk store has a wide selection of nuts (whole, blanched, roasted, salted, unsalted, sliced, slivered, chopped…) They also have lots of imported items like coconut milk and cream, etc.
- Convenience items
I like convenience so I buy hard boiled eggs by the dozen at the grocery store. I know a lot of people think that’s nuts, and yes, it is more expensive BUT, if I have to boil them myself I pay for water, electricity, and the time spent peeling them (and that doesn’t always work out.) So, I buy them, they are ready-to-eat and perfectly cooked. I use them for scotch eggs, egg salad, deviled eggs, as is for a snack, etc.
I buy feta cheese in the tubs that is already diced/cubed. It is so much easier to use just the amount you want and the dice is even so you don’t have huge chunks and crumbs in your dish. I watch for sales and buy a couple at a time.
I also buy guacamole. I like avocados plain and add them to omelettes and salads, but the convenience of the ready to eat guacamole as a dip or garnish is great.
And, yes, I buy the pre-cooked bacon in the box. I also buy locally produced bacon which is yummy, but when I just want bacon and I want it NOW, the stuff that takes 30-seconds in the microwave hits the spot.
- Grating Cheese
I like to think I make up for my egg extravagance by buying block cheese and grating it myself. However, that is because I can’t digest cellulose which is added to all pre-grated cheese to prevent clumping (read the ingredient lists.)
I will grate the cheese that I typically want to use grated, all at once – I’ll grate a block of parmesan (usually while watching TV) and store in a container in the fridge. It keeps almost forever. Softer cheeses don’t have the storage power of the hard ones but they still will keep for several weeks once grated. I don’t grate all the cheeses – generally the parmesan and mozzarella as that is how I use them.
I started to collect recipes off of the internet to try. I would either write them down (excluding ingredients I wasn’t using) or print them off. I’ve sorted them out in a binder by category – Breakfast, Vegetables, Breads, Mains, Snacks, Dips, etc. I make notes on them when I try them – and alter instructions and ingredients as needed. And I keep them in plastic page protectors to keep them clean – easy to wipe off splatters and sticky fingerprints.
I also make-up my own recipes – you can find the ones I’ve published here on my blog – this link will take you to a list of my food posts.
- Eating Out
I don’t eat out much, but have managed a few times. Pre-LCHF we spent over $3000 a year on eating out, coffees, etc. Last year I spent $60.
As I don’t know the ingredients and have an allergy to beef, I am very picky about what I order. I usually end up with sides – side of asparagus, side of sautéed mushrooms or appetizers like dry salt and pepper pork ribs or vegetables with dip and ask for a specific salad dressing as a substitute if the dip isn’t suitable.
You can always order salads with a protein, but I don’t want a salad when I eat out! I can do that at home.
Chinese restaurants are easier as you can order stir-fried and steamed vegetables, crispy chicken and duck, BBQ pork, egg foo yung without sauce, etc. They are usually very accommodating.
Buffets give you the ability to pick and choose, and when staying in hotels breakfast is usually pretty easy to manage.
You can always ask for specific things in a restaurant that aren’t on the menu but I just prefer not to – if there is nothing I can eat on a menu I just don’t go there. As noted above, this has saved me a lot of money!