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White Rice and the Myth of Nutrient Density


Nutrient density is the name of the game these days. Dr. Joel Furhman is all for leafy greens because they’re some of the most nutritionally dense foods known to man. He’s especially high on kale. If he were stranded on a deserted island with only one food, Dr. Fuhrman says he would choose kale. Ok, I’m sold; I already eat kale. Not daily but maybe once every fortnight.

But let’s look at another source of nutrient density. This time of the animal kind — egg yolks. For me, egg whites aren’t dense enough nutritionally, so I discard them. Actually, I despise egg whites with a deep-seated passion. That’s the real reason why I’m focusing on the yolks exclusively; they are an important source of vitamins and minerals. I don’t think there is another food that is more dense nutritionally. Maybe cow or chicken liver but there is nothing easier to cook than hard-boiled eggs.

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This is what the yolks look like when you don’t soak them immediately in ice water. The greenish-yellow tint isn’t very pleasing visually. You want the bright yellow tint which reminds you of well-done scrambled eggs or eggs benedict. Next time, I’ll have a bucket of ice water ready.

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I’ll store these yolks until I’m ready to consume them during the week. I eat at least one everyday. Sometimes two.

Here’s my dinner. It’s the usual grass-fed beef steak seasoned with dried, minced garlic and coffee. Some safe starch in the form of white Bismatti rice. Steamed Brussel sprouts, cut green beans and some onions. Herbs, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

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‘Tis the first time in a while that I’ve cooked a whole steak for dinner. Lately, I’ve been having soup regularly. It’s just a whole lot more convenient to microwave a bowl of soup than cook a piece of steak with obligatory side dishes; you only need to make a pot of soup once a week. For me, it’s usually a mix of bone broth with vegetables — carrots and turnips. I add some turmeric and beet horseradish, which turn the color yellow and red, respectively. I also pour in some white rice and a sprinkling of nori for flavor.

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I don’t know what Sally Fallon may think, as she’s been ruffling some feathers lately acting divisive and what not. But this is a nourishing meal par excellance. Healthy fats, healthy carbs, enough but not too much protein from the the grass-fed muscle meat, and plenty of micronutrients. The bone broth has tendons and collagen, so we have healthy Monos and Safas.

High on the nutrient density scale, too. But let’s not get carried away like Dr. Fuhrman and say that you should only eat something that’s nutrient-dense: white rice is empty calories but fulfills an important function. It’s a clean source of glucose and does the body no harm; it is not ever intended to be a fount of protein, minerals or vitamins. That’s what Dr. Fuhrman seems not to understand. Sure, kale is excellent. But what is your glucose source? Brown rice? Wild rice? Pinto beans? Red kidney beans? Surely, not when you are beset with IBS or intestinal permeability?

Eating white rice is like filling your car with clean, unleaded gas when your gas tank is empty. You need 60-150 grams of pure gluclose, depending on your size, activity, and protein intake. That will keep you from burning ketones, which is stressful and not the best fuel for those who’re destined to be sugar burners. Nothing more benign and easier to digest than white rice. Clean, unenriched and straight from the Himalayas.

Bone Broth: From Plain Vanilla to Cherry Garcia


If you’re into ancestral eating, bone broth is considered absolutely essential.  A South American proverb claims “good broth will resurrect the dead.”  Indeed, the bone broth tradition goes back many years. Traditional cuisines in many cultures reserve a special place for bone broth.  Bone broth is supposed to strengthen the immune system, heal the gut, relieve digestive problems and allergies, and alleviate arthritis and joint problems.

Ok, enough positives here.  I’m sold!  So I decided to make bone broth.  While the bone stock is important, right now, you can’t get grass-fed marrow bones from the two largest mail-order dealers: U.S. Wellness Meats and Slanker’s.  They’re “out of stock,” excuse the pun.  Last time I checked, they were still out of stock (and it’s been more than a year).  Perhaps avid followers of ancestral eating are buying them up and stockpiling them like hotcakes.  So I decided to use marrow bones from feedlot cattle instead.

Better feedlot than never.

Make sure to wash these marrow bones. They are cut with a gigantic saw in one swoop so there are needle-like bone fragments.  I even use a vegetable brush to get rid of the hanging fragments.  Trust me, you do not want sharp bone fragments in your mouth.

For about an hour or two, I boil these marrow bones in medium-high heat.  I add about a half cup of apple cider vinegar when boiling.  Usually the marrow core falls right out.  If they don’t, I use wooden chosticks to push them out from one end.

Separating the marrow from the bone

The marrow bones still have tendons and ligaments attached.  You don’t want to throw these out.  So I separate them from the bones using my steak knife.

Once the tendons are detached, you can throw away the bones.  These are marrow bones which do not dissolve.  I also throw in smaller bones, usually short and back ribs which I collect over a week.  These do dissolve and become soft like marshmallows and hollow out when you boil a whole lot longer (12-24 hours).  I usually leave such small bones in when serving for the “primeval” visual effect.  This should give your vegetarian pals some kicks.

Left-over short ribs in bone broth.

I’ve experimented with various ways of serving the bone broth.  It’s good to serve with minimal seasoning (black pepper and salt) and savor its pristine flavor.  This would be “plain vanilla” bone broth.

Plain vanilla bone broth.

Another option is to make a separate soup with vegetables and combine the two when serving.  I used to make them simultaneously and mix the two into one immediately.  At a ratio of about 1 to 5 (broth to soup).  What you have is a strong vegetable soup with a hearty bone broth stock.

Bone broth with kale and other veggies.

Obviously, this will not work well with certain vegetables.  If you’re using broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, mushrooms or kale, you want to keep the ingredients apart and mix them when ready to serve.  Carrots, potatoes (or yuca), turnips, zucchini and butternut squash tend to hold up well.  I’ve mixed them with bone broth and stored them for more than a week without spoiling.

When ready to serve, I also use more seasoning (turmeric, dried chopped onions, minced garlic) and sprinkle some nori (Japanese shredded seaweed).  Sometimes, I put kale and chorizo slices, and drop a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for a taste of Portuguese kale soup.  That would be Bone Broth Cherry Garcia.

Chorizoes and nori in bone broth for breakfast.

I’ve experimented with different types of bones.  From Slanker’s, I bought some buffalo marrow bones.  Unfortunately, the buffalo bones don’t produce hearty enough marrow core, as they’re not as rich as beef marrows.  Those who’ve eaten buffalo steak know how lean the beef is and the same goes for the marrows.  So no buffalo broth again.  Since I don’t eat chicken (personal preference), I haven’t tried making the “Jewish Penicillin,” as chicken broth is known.  No porcine broth either as I prefer processed pork (such as chorizoes) and bacon.  At the moment, I’m only dedicated to making bovine broth.

I also purchased some grass-fed cow knuckles.  Boiling and detaching tendons took more than a week.  And then I was left with a huge naked knuckle which I boiled for umpteen hours, hoping to dissolve its intractable core.  My gas bill would have hit the roof if I didn’t bail.

This is no chicken. It’s a huge cow knuckle I tried to dissolve unsuccesfully.

So this was an exercise in futility comparable to trying to peel yuca with a potato peeler.  The amount of tendons I reaped wasn’t woth the time I spent, the knife blade I ruined, nor my own sore knuckles incurred from the process.

Not enough tendons for the trouble.
Still intact cow knuckle core after umpteen hours of boiling.

So cooking your bone broth is an adventure in ancestral eating!  Yes, it can become a misadventure if you don’t know what you’re doing.  But there are enough variations in cooking this ancestral broth to suit everyone’s palate:  from Plain Vanilla to Cherry Garcia.  If not, it can become an acquired taste soon enough, as it did for me.

How Instant Coffee Replaced Filter Coffee


I have made a complete switch to drinking instant coffee.  This after drinking filter coffee for more than 20 years.  Why the switch?  Well, I used to hop over to either Dunkin Donuts or Au Bon Pain to get my coffee.  When I was in Canada, it would be Tim Horton’s or Second Cup.  That was my morning routine:  getting a fresh cup of filter coffee with half & half and 2 packs of Domino sugar.

Then I had my epiphany and realized that sugar is evil and dairy may be allergenic, if not carcinogenic.  So I started drinking from the communal coffee pot at work, using either stevia or Splenda for sweetness and coconut milk in lieu of cream.  This was good for a while but I began to mightily miss heavy cream in my coffee.

Through a series of experiments, I came to realize that if I drank stronger coffee, I could cut down on the overall volume drank and do without the cream.  With stronger coffee, I need to drink only once in the morning and evening — no mug full of weak and lukewarm coffee to sip for an entire day.

Stronger coffee cuts down on overall caffeine intake.

Besides, you can increase the dose with instant coffee and mix other ingredients which improve the taste.  For example, I add a teaspoon of instant espresso to boost the flavor.  The concentrated espresso flavor can be jarring if you’re not used to drinking espresso.  My favorite is Ferrara but the other two aren’t bad either.

I also sprinkle cinnamon powder and add some extra virgin coconut oil.  Then I add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa.   Either Hershey’s or Nestle’s unsweetened cocoa gives my coffeee the rich, mocha taste that I’ve come to like.

Then comes coconut milk.  There isn’t a brand that I haven’t tried.  I find these two brands to be acceptable.  Naive Forest is a bit thicker and creamier than Thai Kitchen but it tends to crust after a few days.  One tablespoon from either source is plenty for me.

As for instant coffee, my favorite brand is Savarin.  Works perfectly well when mixed with instant espresso.  Cheaper does not mean inferior.  I’ve tried most other brands (Folger’s, Maxwell, Nescafe) and I simply prefer Savarin.  Two heaping teaspoons for an 8-oz. coffee cup.

What results is not just coffee.  It really is a coffee-flavored energy drink packing quite a punch.  In an 8 oz. serving, the drink resembles a stronger version of Caffè Americano or long black mixed with mocha.  The coconut milk gives it the softer, creamier taste but not quite as creamy as espresso mixed with hot milk.

Back in my student days, my staple coffee drink used to be cappucino and au lait.  When I started working, I drank Au Bon Pain’s house coffee mixed with cream.  When drinking coffee as strong as this, however, you don’t quite miss the taste of steamed milk and foam, nor pasteurized heavy cream.  Even when you drink twice a day.