Those who’ve been following Alchemist Eating for a while know I used to do a regular post on our “Sunday Cook-ups,” offering a glimpse of what we were doing each weekend to prepare for the week ahead.
Alas, that series fell by the wayside—partly because we tend to do many of the same things each week, albeit with seasonal variations…and partly because we’ve gravitated toward cooking things two or three days at a time, rather than planning a week in advance.
(Running our own businesses and making our own schedules offers blessed freedom and flexibility in that regard.)
That said, I often get questions from clients and others about what I eat.
I’m more than willing to share—if, for no other reason, to show it’s possible to eat an abundance of healthy, delicious food without depriving or fighting yourself (whether around food or movement).
But first, I want to be extra-clear that my eating plan is NOT ideal for everyone.
Thing is, there is no one best diet for all people (or even for one person at all times).
The optimal eating pattern is individual, responsive and relational.
Sure, there are guidelines that are, universally, pretty solid—eating a real-food, nutrient-dense diet containing healthy protein, fats and veggies, for instance.
But when I work with clients, I offer all sorts of individual-specific modifications based on their particular goals and needs, bringing in Western as well as Chinese Medicine perspectives.
What’s more, my way of eating didn’t always look like it does now—even since going paleo-primal.
I’ve been eating high-protein, high-fat, low-carb/sugar paleo-primal nearly 100 percent of the time for quite a while.
As a result, my body is “fat adapted”—meaning, it doesn’t rely on regular infusions of sugar or carbs, instead drawing on stored and dietary fat as a preferred fuel source.
If you’re just starting out with paleo-primal (or if you’ve been eating a high-carb/sugar version), eating the way I do will likely be a struggle—at least at first.
For some, eating exactly the way I do will NEVER be ideal, since a whole host of factors determine whether low-carb and intermittent fasting are a good fit. (Though many people I work with do find the longer they eat paleo-primal, the more satiated they feel from meals, with less need and desire for snacks.)
One more thing: I’m in no way claiming my own plan is *perfect* or finalized—even for me.
Like all of us, I’m a work in progress…and finding balance is a process.
What’s more, the “right” way of eating changes throughout the course of a year…and the course of a lifetime.
But those caveats in mind, here’s a snapshot of what I’m eating (and how I’m moving) these days…
On waking (7am)
- Very small portion of water with fresh squeezed lemon, along with Chinese herbs
Early morning (7:30am)
- Large mug of organic, dark-roast coffee blended with fresh, local butter and coconut oil (Get my recipe here.)
Lunch (11am or noon)
- GT’s Kombucha (ginger or cranberry—low sugar flavors)
- 2-3 eggs, usually scrambled or omelette-style in fresh, local butter
- Half an avocado sprinkled with sea salt
- Sometimes: beets or whatever veggies are around (should be adding more of these:)
- Mug of matcha blended with a small amount of coconut oil or coconut milk
- 1 container of plain, full-fat, grass-fed Greek yoghurt from Maple Hill Creamery (no additives)
- 2-3 tablespoons of full-fat coconut cream (usually Native Forrest Organic Classic)
- Teaspoon of almond butter (local: contains only almonds and sea salt)
- Sometimes: a few berries (e.g., 3-4 large blackberries) and/or a spoonful of homemade, grain-free paleo granola containing nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, butter, coconut oil and spices
(No snacks.)[Evening yoga: 6 days a week, a 70-minute hot yoga class; 1 day a week, a 90-minute Ashtanga class]
- Large portion of protein (fish/steak/2 burgers/meaty stew/etc.) (Most people would probably consider my protein portion enough for two people; I eat as much as Randy at dinner, though he’s taller, a man, and lifts heavy weights and such, which I currently do not.)
- Ideally, a small portion of soup (carrot/greens/whatever else we’ve made—always paleo and sugar-free)
- 2-3 handfuls of fresh veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, red onion, etc.) and/or sautéed veggies (especially greens), usually drizzled with almond oil or extra-virgin olive oil…or cooked in coconut oil
- Sometimes: roasted carrots/beets and/or a spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes (Compared to me, Randy eats a much larger portion of these and other carbs.)
- Specifics of the above shift with the seasons; meals look very different in winter than spring, for instance.
- 2-3 tablespoons of full-fat coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon (or less, or none) of almond butter
- A few berries, one bite of banana
- All sprinkled with cinnamon and cardamom
- Sometimes: small square of raw hard cheese (before, after or with dinner); we used to have a square or two of 85% or higher dark chocolate, but over the past 3 months have been saving such treats for rare dinners out.
Brief notes on my macros, weight, energy and such
With all of the above, I’m extra-liberal with healthy fats…and extra-sparse on carbs and sugar, which make me bloated, tired and irritable. Also worth reiterating: I do not snack (ever).
Eating and moving this way, my bodyweight and body composition hold fairly steady. We don’t own a scale and I only weigh-in like once a year. But so far as I can tell, I’ve stayed under 100 pounds at 5 foot tall (yeah, I’m quite short:). Since going primal, my body composition has also become far more toned.
I hesitate to share weight details…and I’m NOT inviting commentary on them or putting them out there as a place of comparison with anyone else. The scale is deceiving when it comes to body composition and health—I steer clear unless “forced” to step on one.
But my point is: I eat a LOT—including a LOT of fat. My weight, while eating this way, is just fine. My body composition is better than previously. Far more important: I feel pretty darn good.
Fifteen years ago, if you told me that was possible, I’d never have believed you.
I was eating way less (and vegetarian), exercising way more (with tons of cardio), avoiding fat (like the plague), counting calories (something I NEVER do now), and dependent on regular infusions of sugar and carbs (think: bread, cereal, donuts, cookies and soda—lots of it).
My bodyweight wasn’t much different…but I felt deprived, exhausted and miserable.
I’m Not You
In sharing the above—both my meal line-up and the notes—I can’t emphasize enough that YOUR optimal way of eating and moving may look nothing like mine (at least outside of general, real-food parameters).
Heck, my personal *optimal* is ever-changing too!
But just know that:
- Eating an abundance of real food is totally doable and doesn’t have to be miserable.
- YOUR optimal eating plan depends on a whole host of factors and will change over time.
Where do you go from here?
Well, mindful, ongoing self-experimentation is ALWAYS a key piece.
And if you want skilled, caring support in that, you might consider working with me one-on-one.
Go here to find out whether this sort of focused, intensive work is a good fit.
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