The worst thing about being homeless is the havoc it wreaks on one’s diet. A healthy diet is the foundation to everything else in life. In a way, I have the best of all ways of being homeless… I have an office where I can store my possessions and do work. And I have access to, and the use of, a kitchen.
Unlike the ways I used my kitchen at home, when I had one, my “homeless meals” must be small, discrete, microwaveable feasts which will not attract any kind of attention. No one can know my secret. If anyone does ask about what “I’m having” I can just tell them the truth… I’m on a special “keto” diet.
Another consideration is theft. I don’t know about your office… But in mine, I just have a 16′ x 16′ foot unit that opens to the main corridor. The whole building shares a single kitchen which not only tenants can access, but visitors as well. i.e. food goes missing. What I must be able to do is purchase a bunch of ingredients, prepare a slew of individual packaged meals late in the evening when everyone has gone home, and store them in a little white paper bag in the back of the freezer. I say “white” because the inside of the freezer is white. I want my food stash to go unnoticed. To do keto correctly, one must prepare their keto meals from scratch. I know what some people will say, there are companies creating keto meals for sale (more everyday), but my way is cheaper and more delicious… And I “know” what is in every portion of my meals, and can tweak the amounts and ingredients to insure that I, actually, enter ketogenesis. Everybody is different. And I have an added bonus… Because of the nature of the foods I’ve selected, if any would be food thief resolves to take one of my meals, they will immediately put it, the hell, back.
My Awful Keto Nutrition
I hope you forgive the misrepresentation… I’m writing a blog here, after all… But my keto recipes are not “awful” but offal. For those of you who are unaware… Offal are the parts of a butchered animal, such as: heart, liver, kidneys, etcetera which are not generally considered edible. The derivation of the word comes from late 14th century German “Abfall,” from “off” + “fall,” a verb; the notion being that which “falls off” the butcher’s block; is “rubbish.”
The etymology of the word notwithstanding, offal are one the most nutrient dense types of food in existence. Often considered the super-foods of the animal world, organ meats are high in protein, low in calories, and packed full of highly bio available vitamins and minerals such as B complex, including B12 and folate (folic acid), Vitamin K2, Amino Acids, Pre-formed Vitamin A (retinol), Vitamin E, Vitamin D, beneficial Fats (especially omega-3), CoQ10 (essential for energy production and cardiac function; a potent antioxidant), Iron, Copper, Zinc and Chromium.
How Nutrient Dense are Offal?
Compared with fruits and vegetables, here’s how offal stacks up. The following table compares a 100 gram portions of Broccoli, Apple, and bovine Liver.
|100 Gram Portion||Apple||Liver||Broccoli|
* Chart excerpt from the book “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods,” by Dr. Catherine Shanahan.
Pound for pound there’s no comparison. As a side note, after a kill is made by a wolf pack, it is the Alpha wolf who always eats first… It will begin with the organ meats. And it is only the Alpha wolf who eats the liver. It is for all these reasons I have chosen to make my first “homeless meals” with chicken livers.
Don’t Organ Meats Store Toxins?
No. While the liver does function as a filter in the body, it doesn’t actually store the toxins. When it comes to the liver, instead of picturing a filter, think “chemistry set.” The way a liver functions to detoxify harmful substances in the body is two fold. The first step uses enzymes and oxygen to burn toxins, especially fatty ones, so they are more water soluble, making them easier for the body to eliminate. The second detox step combines partially processed toxins with sulfur or amino acids so they can be removed through bile or urine. These are only two out of the hundreds of functions this wonderful organ performs. To perform all these functions, organ meats store many fat soluble vitamins and nutrients needed to accomplish these tasks.
It is, however, possible for organ meats to contain toxins, but only to the extent that every other part of the body can. If an animal’s liver is toxic, so is every other tissue in the animal’s body, and to the same extent.
“One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.”
Quote from Weston A. Price nutritional anthropologist and father of preventive dentistry through traditional animal based diets.
My First attempt at Offal Keto Cuisine
It is my belief that the main ingredient in all great recipes is love. In fact, one of my favorite ways of showing someone I love them is to prepare them a meal. To me, bombarding food with microwave radiation to induce the molecules in the food to spin and thus produce heat which “cooks” the food, is not what I would call an act of love. Everything about preparing a meal from scratch in a microwave oven is off putting. The whole process is just too fast. Part of the enjoyment of preparing a meal is its meditative quality. The space to enjoy the smells. The space for anticipation. Microwave ovens don’t know shit about romance. But, I digress.
Below is the list of ingredients I used in my first offal homeless keto recipe. The portion sizes I used for the chives, sage, thyme, and lemon juice were much lower than what is shown in the table. And as for the cabbage, I am quite sure I used much more than 100 grams per serving. My approach to the keto diet is to sneak up to it. Being homeless, I cannot cook in the ways I am used to. My first step on my journey to ketogenesis is to make the meals function in my new homeless paradigm.
|Ingredients:||Carbohydrates per 100 grams||Sugars per 100 grams|
|Chicken Liver||0.87 grams||0 grams|
|Chives||1.85 grams||1.85 grams|
|Sage||20.43 grams||1.71 grams|
|Thyme||10.45 grams||1.71 grams|
|Cabbage||3.61 grams||2.79 grams|
|Lemon Juice||8.23 grams||2.4 grams|
|Vegan Vegetable Bouillon||0 grams*||25 grams*|
* Exact amounts by portion size used.
It is, actually, a misnomer to call this first attempt a “recipe.” At best one could say I am on a journey toward a recipe. I’ve only just begun.
I spent $18.50, including tax, on the ingredients and assembled fifteen Offal Homeless meals. Each meal cost me $1.23 to prepare. So far, I’ve enjoyed seven of the meals in the past few days and can report the following:
Preparation – It takes 2 minutes and 30 seconds to prepare the meals. As you can see in the pictures I began using a bowl, but found the process too cumbersome. Presently, I am preparing the meals like a cup-of-soup. I have found the process works best when I allow the food package to warm-up to room temperature and fill the cup only half way with water, before I put it in the microwave. Even so, when I turn the microwave on, I need to stop the cooking every ten seconds so the mixture doesn’t boil over. Occasionally, I take the cup out of the microwave and break-up the liver with a knife to make sure the meat cooks all the way through.
Taste – The flavour is okay, but not great. Its basically Liver soup, so… Next time I’ll ditch the lemon juice and other spices I used and prepare a batch with dried Herbs de Provence, Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a dash of Cayenne. And prepare it pretty much the same way as above.
How do I feel? – Since I began eating the meals, I’ve noticed my cravings for junk foods like pizza diminish significantly. I feel more balanced emotionally, and am more regular.
What’s next? – For a bit of variety, I’m going to attempt three more recipes:
- Another offal meal utilizing chicken gizzards, heart, and neck with the same dried Herbs de Provence, Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a dash of Cayenne, drowned in lemon juice.
- A variation of gumbo using Polish Kielbasa.
- And also, scrambled eggs and Kielbasa.