Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some Recent Meals

 This is a so-called 'century egg,' a Chinese invention.  They take raw duck eggs, pack them in in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and straw or rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing.
 When you crack it open, you find that the white has turned gelatinous and black.
 They have a strong flavor.  I cut them into slices like below.  Inside you find that the yolk has turned blue-green, and semi-solid.  The alkalinity of the curing materials above raises the pH of the egg to 9 or more, causing changes in the egg proteins.
 I cut the egg into slices and put a few along with slices of an omelet on top of this miso soup that contained bok choy, bean sprouts, onions, and other vegetables.
On May 30 I had the plate below.  Egg omelet, two types of sweet potato, white potato, and a combination of steamed Asian greens.
On August 12, I had the meal below.  Two grass-fed beef burgers, one raw and one cooked, about 8 ounces total.  On the cooked burger, we had a sauce Tracy created from blended tofu and spices that made it look a lot like cheese.  I had a large sweet potato, a large ear of fresh corn, some cooked kale and onions, and a green salad with quick-pickled cucumbers that Tracy made atop.  To finish I had one of those quarters of a small watermelon.

 On August 22 my first feeding consisted of this bowl of fruit and nuts.  It contained a half banana, 9 grapes, an apricot, half a pint of raspberries, a plum, a quarter-cup of cashews, a quarter-cup of almonds, an a couple of tablespoonfuls of coconut flakes.

 A couple hours later, I had the plate below with about 4 ounces of leftover cod, a pile of kabocha winter squash, steamed kale with some carrot raisin salad atop, half an avocado, and some cole slaw.  The two photos have different dates because it changes date some time in the mid morning (apparently I didn't set it correctly and don't want to take time to fix it).
Later that same day I had  two plates of food.  The first has a ~4 ounce turkey burger under that pile of wilted onions (seasoned with cumin), more kale, slaw, olives, avocado, and green salad.  I ate this while waiting for our potatoes to steam.  Then I had the second plate:  another turkey burger and onions, and two steamed red potatoes with black pepper.  Then I had the bowl of blueberries and banana with coconut milk. 


Anonymous said...

I was curious to see what the new diet was like, looks very appetising. I am very new to ancestral eating, having come from a disastrous period of veganism, but after a few months of 'paleo' I'm doing better on plenty of potatoes and adding fruit back in. As a one time vegan, I'm a bit scared of raw meat (I do eat steaks as rare as poss), especially ground. How do you safely prepare raw ground meat? I'm still dealing with dysbiosis and experimenting with a gentler way to eat while I heal and am keen to experiment with raw animal foods. Thanks for sharing.

Invisible Jungle said...

Thanks Don, I'm sure many readers were curious to see what your meals look like nowadays.

It would be great if you could post pictures of some of your grain-based meals. Eating potatoes and sweet potatoes is a piece of cake for most, but a lot of people have trouble creating appetizing meals based on whole grains.

Don said...


I only eat raw grass-fed meat from two suppliers. I won't eat grain-fed meat raw, because grain-fed carries more pathogens, including multiple antibiotic resistant pathogens.

I purchase it frozen (freezing kills some pathogens). I typically put raw garlic, cumin, chili powder, and a small amount of olive oil in the meat and let it marinate a while before eating it. I don't think there is any special benefit to eating raw meat, in fact research suggests the meat protein is less digestible when raw, but I just like some raw meat now and then.

Invisible Jungle said...

By the way, did you make the century eggs yourself or buy them? I've never seen them at any Asian grocery stores here in Chicago.

Don said...

Invisible Jungle,

I find I like and feel better with potatoes and sweet potatoes as my main starches.

For a few weeks I had maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of my meals based on grains, but I found I just prefer the tubers and roots. Most recently I might have corn tortillas a few times a week, and might have a meal based on rice or noodles once or twice a week...and when I have these, I usually have them as half or less of my starch portion.

Don said...

I got the century eggs at an Asian grocery. Look or ask for preserved duck eggs, usually in the case with fresh eggs.

SoccerGuro said...

Wow Don, the food looks amazing. What would you say is your daily caloric intake, and what kind of macros are you usually hitting.

Don said...

Soccer Guro,

I need ~2500 kcal per day typically, but don't always hit that mark. My macronutrient ratios fluctuate a bit depending on whether I eat more nuts/olives/avocados or more starch/fruit in any day, but it ranges around about 15-20% protein, carbs fluctuating from 35-50% and fats from 30-45%, mostly from nuts, olives, and avocados. Carbs are from 225 g to 300 g per day, but I find the high end a bit much to digest (volume) from whole foods.

Jeff Consiglio said...

Like the new non carbo-phobic attitude you're sportin lately. I am also a recovering carbophobe and feel much better now that I eat them tasty carbs. While on LC I was stuck at 207 pounds - about 10 pounds above where I like to be. Since ditching the LC diet and simply counting calories (while enjoying a much more diverse menu) I am down to 201-ish. Well on my way to 197, where I prefer to be. I also quit having panic attacks, and "weird" reaction from caffeine after giving up my orthorexic ways.

So don't let those LC-Paleo types get to ya! You're on the right path I believe.

Anonymous said...

Are there any health advantages to the century egg?

Don said...


You're the third person I know who reported having panic attacks when eating a low carb diet. I think low carb diets create neurotransmitter imbalances in some people, particularly deficiencies of serotonin. The Wortman's did some work on this at MIT, showing that eating carbohydrates may improve serotonin levels.

Thanks for the support.

Don said...


I don't know of any health benefits of the century eggs. Chinese invented the process as a way to preserve eggs without refrigeration. Now you might say that is obsolete, but some people enjoy the flavor.

Monica said...

Thousand year old eggs.... love em! Haven't had em in years. Going to have to find an Asian market!

Anonymous said...

Don. Getting your fats from mainly nuts, olives, and avocados will give you a pretty high Omega 6 to 3 ratio.

Is this a concern?

Don said...


I don't think so.

Although nuts have a high n6:n3 ratio, the absolute amount of n6 is reasonable (most of fat in most nuts is oleic acid). One hundred g of almonds (about a cup) provides 590 kcal and 12 g of omega 6, 18% of the energy in the almonds and only 5% of the energy in a 2000 kcal diet. Seafoods, grass fed meats, and green leafy vegetables provide n3 to balance it.

I don't consider it a problem, since research shows nuts consistently protective against risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and some h-gs (!Kung) eat lots of nuts rich in n-6 without apparent ill effect.

I think the effects of whole foods are different from the effects of refined oils. For example, nuts etc. have a higher ratio of vitamin E to omega-6 than refined oils, along with many other compounds (sterols, protein, and others) that modify the effects of the n-6.

This study showed linoleic acid intake inversely related to C-reactive protein (inflammation marker):

This one showed that increasing LA to 10-12% of calories via walnuts or flax oil reduced diastolic BP and total peripheral resistance.

Aaron Blaisdell said...

Hi Don,

Nice meals! Do you soak and dry nuts before consumption?


Anonymous said...

i see these eggs all the time when i go to pick up kabocha squash(stuff is amazing btw...i see you like it too!). i think i might bite the bullet and try one.

have you tried quail eggs? a dozen tiny little eggs is a dollar but i dont know what to do with them

i dont know why people are hating on the carbs, this isnt really 'high' carb and its all paleo.

are your nuts raw? totally agree on raw and grassfed, i wont touch raw store food

Don said...

Aaron and Malpaz,

I eat roasted or blanched nuts. From what I can tell so far, reading Catching Fire by Wrangham, hunter-gatherers eat nuts roasted then often ground.

gwarm said...

Have you seen this on avocados (in vitro)?


Unknown said...

Respect for eating century eggs. They smell and look so horrible I never could force myself to try one :-)

Don said...


Interesting, but he didn't give any idea what dose was required to produce that effect, and as he said, the study was in vitro, not in vivo.

Dose makes the poison, so without an idea how many avocados a person has to eat every day, and for how many days, to get the concentration delivered by the extract used in the study, I have no way of translating its importance to dietary use of avocados.

Don said...

I checked on the study abstract. They used 100mg/kg, 200mg/kg, and 300 mg/kg doses of the extracts, but from the abstract it isn't clear how many avocados were condensed into each extract.

In addition, the extracts were 50% methanol...uh, methanol (wood alcohol) is mutagenic itself.

Who knows what reaction products appeared in the extract when the avocado was mixed with the methanol?

Not wise to extrapolate from methanol extract to whole fresh avocado.

Don said...

Here's the study: