I would be lying if I told you “all or nothing”, “black or white”, and “extreme” were not words people used to describe me in the past. Things have changed quite a bit, but I can catch myself dabbling into those areas from time to time. The “extreme” lifestyle is something that I’ve truly put an effort into changing. I think many food bloggers find their ultimate balance in life because they’ve explored those rocky slopes into extreme territories when it comes to food. Veganism gave me balance, a new understanding about food and the way it should be used to heal our bodies. I’m no longer vegan, but I do credit that lifestyle to where I’m at now and the balance I’ve achieved when it comes to food and eating.
I think one aspect that shows my progress with balance is with the latest food trends that have come into the public eye; paleo and the ketogenic diet. Paleo has been around for years and years, but has been become popularized lately because of the numerous studies done on digestion and proper nutrition to heal our bodies, as well as the crossfit lifestyle that has boomed. A lot of the food I tend to eat fall under the paleo category. I avoid gluten, dairy, and processed foods, but I will include feta and some hard cheeses every once in a while. I try and eat real food that’s as close to nature as possible. Since I’ve scratched out ‘vegan’ from words that describe me, I don’t tend to put labels on myself. I think doing so puts you in a trapped box that is bound to be attacked and criticized by other individuals when you decide to eat something that doesn’t fit to those dietary standards. I eat what makes me feel best and I’m not going to put a label on it. As far as the ketogenic diet or ketosis, this is somewhat new territory to me. The basic concept behind a ketogenic diet is high fats and low carbohydrates. Mainstream media, big business, and the medical industry has drilled into our brains that dietary fats, especially saturated fats, should be extremely limited or even completely avoided. However, there have been numerous studies indicating that saturated fats and heart disease have absolutely no correlation.
Our bodies NEED fat. We need it to balance hormone levels, keep us satisfied and full, provide nutrition for the brain, and most definitely for fat loss. Fat is not the reason that our nation is becoming fat. Carbohydrates/sugar is the problem. Whether the sources of those sugars come from whole grain toast, rolled oats, bagels, or even fruit, carbohydrates break down into simple sugars in the body. My next post will be a more detailed explanation as to why sugar is causing so much harm on our bodies and how it’s preventing you from weight loss. But as far as the basic explanation of the ketogenic diet, it’s high fats/low carbs. I’ve spoken with a number of individuals who have seen great improvements with their weight loss by utilizing a ketosis diet to achieve these goals. Many of these individuals make fat roughly 80% of their diet. I’m doing tons of research on this diet and lifestyle and I’m going to slowly transition my body into it. (Trying to stay in the grey area and avoid “black/white”). I’m not saying I’m going to make it up to 80% fats, but I think it’s worth experimenting with and figuring out what works best for my body. Like I said, I most likely won’t go that high as far as percentages, but I’ll definitely make fats much higher of a priority in my diet. You’ll never know what works for you until you personally do it yourself. I’ve been increasing my fats for a few months now and I’ve absolutely noticed some positive changes. The three main changes I’ve noticed are:
- Loss of cravings
- Fat loss
- Better sleep
Fat loss is my number one priority and goal, but the loss of cravings was a huge turning point for me. Sorry to generalize women, but that monthly cycle really changes our hormones up and makes us crave different foods. Chocolate was my game. I wanted some everyday. Even when I wasn’t on my period it was something that I needed to include each day. And I’m not going to lie, I’m not that type of girl that wants her glass of wine and one sliver of chocolate. Hell, hand me over half that chocolate bar and I’ll call it a day. So being able to tweak something in my diet that could reduce those chocolate cravings was a big deal to me.
Alright, since I’ve made you listen to that full schpeele, I’ll get to the good stuff. Since I’m adding more fats into my diet, while also watching my carb intake, this meal somewhat came into creation. Bacon. Brussels. Butter. What more could you ask for? Cheese? Oh yea, I added a little of that in there too! I said balance, right?
Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon and Brussels
- 8 medium stuffing portabellas (trader joes sells them in packs of 6)
- 4 cups shredded brussel sprouts (trader joes sells a big bag already shredded)
- 4 slices bacon (look for no sugar added and uncured)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes; sliced in half
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan reggiano cheese; finely grated
- 2 Tbsp ghee (could also use unsalted grass-fed butter)
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2-1/4 tsp garlic; minced ( I love garlic so lean towards 1/4 tsp if you’re not the biggest fan)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook bacon in skillet. Remove bacon when it’s 3/4 of the way cooked and put to the side.
- Pour out bacon fat, but do not wipe the pan out with a paper towel.
- Add sliced cherry tomatoes to the pan and let cook in the remaining bacon fat for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove tomatoes from the skillet and place into a large bowl.
- In the same skillet, add ghee and let melt.
- Add shredded brussel sprouts, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Let sauté for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Add 2 Tbsp of water to help cook down the brussels and make them more tender. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Remove brussels from the pan and place in the large bowl with the cherry tomatoes.
- Pour panko bread crumbs into the same skillet (no need to add ghee or butter) and let toast until slightly golden. Then add the panko to the bowl.
- Chop the bacon into small bite-size pieces and add into the large bowl.
- Combine parmesan reggiano cheese with the mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
- For the mushrooms, take a paper towel and wipe the cap of the mushrooms to remove any excess dirt.
- Remove the stems from the cap. (You can chop the stems up and put into the stuffing if you want!)
- Place mushrooms cap side down and drizzle with olive oil.
- Fill the mushroom caps with 1-2 Tbsp of the filling. Add 1 Tbsp at a time and press down to compact it.
- Bake in the over for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately!