I managed to get through three weeks of Stage 2 with only one meal of cheating. The cheat was unintended, however well worth it. When I decided to go back on Stage 2 (see blog “Exit, Stage 2”) I didn’t realize that right in the middle of my plan was a previously scheduled meal of wonderful gorging. I’m a NY Giants football fan, and my buddy Mike is a Chicago Bears fan, so when we saw they were playing each other on the NFL schedule this year, we decided to watch the game together and order both NY Pizza from Joe’s (the Greenwich Village landmark that opened two locations in LA recently) and Italian Beef sandwiches from the legendary Chicago eatery Portillo’s (they mailed it frozen). So aside from one night of gastronomical bliss, I stayed on Stage 2 event free. And I definitely felt better after completing the three weeks. I noticed I did lose whatever small amounts of summer fat I put on, but more importantly, I lost that sluggish feeling, my skin is clear, and my energy has returned. I immediately celebrated by having Thai food with my friend Amy, and although I was unscathed weeks earlier by the pizza and Portillo’s, my stomach was doing flip flops after a plate of Pad Thai. So it was right back to caveman eating.
Stage 3, which is maintaining the diet for the rest of your life, suggests listening to your body and fulfilling any cravings you’re having. I was definitely craving steak, maybe because I was still trying to fight off the last of that cold I knocked out by eating all those peppers (look up the blog yourself, you lazy bastards) with some much needed iron. So off to Whole Foods I went for grass fed steak. But everything was SO FRIGGIN’ EXPENSIVE! This diet ain’t cheap folks, organics can be costly, so you have to pick your battles. Normally for beef I just get the Trader Joe’s organic grass fed ground beef at $5.99 a pound, not only for the price, but because it has 15% fat (all omega-3 fat by the way, and wonderful for your health), so it’s much tastier (fat IS flavor) than grass fed steak which is MUCH leaner than 15%. But still, I didn’t want a hamburger steak, I wanted a STEAK steak. But my two favorite cuts, filet mignon, and rib eye were well over $20 bucks a pound each. Screw that noise. The cheapest cut of grass fed beef in steak form they had was top sirloin, at $8.99 a pound, so I got one large steak.
When I got home, I cut it into three pieces, seasoned each side with the Holy Trinity (garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper), and pan fried it in my cast iron skillet, until medium rare. I served it up with some swiss chard and mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Check it out:
I don’t know about you, but every time I cook a steak at home I’m disappointed. It tastes okay, but it always has so much gristle that I wind up spitting out half the steak! I feel like I just wasted all that damn money! And unfortunately this time was no different. I ate one half of the smallest piece of steak, spit out the other gristly half (I know, gross right, and all that wasted money), and saved the leftovers, not knowing what to do with them yet.
The next night, despite getting back on the caveman bandwagon, I still wanted to satisfy another craving I was having, even though I knew it was really bad for me. I was DYING for a reuben sandwich, one of my favorites. I even planned to cheat that night, and defrosted nothing for dinner. But as the meal got closer, I started feeling more and more guilty about it. I just thought that I didn’t want all that corn fed hormone injected beef in my system after just getting clean, not to mention all the salt, and processed cheese, and whatever traces of pesticide are left in the sauerkraut, and then the toxins in the rye bread, and the chemicals in the thousand island dressing (“OKAY, I GET IT, CAVEMAN, STOP RUINING MY APPETITE FOREVER, AND MAKING ME AFRAID TO EAT ANYTHING IN A RESTAURANT EVER AGAIN!”)…
Sorry. But you get my point. So I started really examining what I was craving and tried to narrow it down. I realized what I really wanted was salt. Not a bad thing, we need salt to live, but it’s definitely a cheat to add salt to food, and we don’t need it, but I was craving it regardless. So I decided to have a mini-cheat, instead of a full blown cheat. An example of a mini-cheat, as opposed to a full blown cheat is, a reuben sandwich from Jerry’s deli is a full blown cheat. An organic hot dog, made with grass fed beef, with organic mustard and organic sauerkraut is a mini-cheat. The salt in the meal and the vinegar in the mustard is bad for me, but at least it’s still all organic, therefore, I consider it a mini-cheat. So that’s what I had instead of the reuben. I served up the dog on some soft rye bread I made with walnut flour (see recipe page), and intended to fold over like a bun.
It also gave me an opportunity to test out my new deep fryer that my friend Julie gave me after she tasted my coconut shrimp for the first time. She’s such a wonderful supporter of my diet and my blog, and wanted to make life easier for me. I started preparing for another experiment with a side of caveman fries for my hot dog. In the past, I couldn’t get whatever root veggie I was using as a potato substitute to get crispy on the outside, like a classic french fry. They always came out delicious, but soggy. This time I decided to use a batter like I use with my onion rings (see recipe page), in hopes to solve the crispy problem. They came out golden brown, and looked PERFECT! And since I had the oil going in the deep fryer, I decided to cook the hot dog New Jersey style and make a ripper! Rippers are great, deep fried hot dogs, who get their name from how their skin rips in the deep fryer. But this organic hot dog was skinless, so unfortunately it didn’t RIP! But it was still crisp and yummy. Okay, it was no Nathan’s, or Katz’s, or Gray Papaya’s, but it was still pretty decent (the brand is called Applegate Farms). I topped the kraut with some organic crushed red pepper. Take a look:
Alas though, the fries still were a little too soggy to be like real french fries. They tasted great (I used turnip), and they were seasoned great in the Holy Trinity and some paprika, and they even held their shape. But they didn’t quite do the trick. I’ll keep trying.
Okay, so now I had these leftover soggy fries, hot dogs, and sirloin steak. And I thought a great way to combine all these leftovers for another meal was… CHILI!!!!! Chili dogs, chili fries, and bowls of chili! It was a perfect way to use up that gristle strewn sirloin.
CHILI INGREDIENTS (all organic, all the time):
1 lb grass-fed beef (15% fat)
1 brown or yellow or white onion
1 large garlic cloves
small head of celery
2 large diced red peppers
1 large green or poblano pepper
hot peppers to taste
3 heirloom tomatoes (other tomatoes are fine too)
sirloin steak (optional)
In a big ass pot I sauteed a brown onion, 2 large garlic cloves, and a head of celery in olive oil. Then I browned a pound of ground grass fed beef in with them. Then I added 2 large diced red peppers, 1 large poblano pepper, and 1 TEENSY-TINY Habanero pepper, the hottest pepper on earth. You can use jalapeno if you don’t like it as hot as I do, but I used this little monster. You can also deseed it to make it milder, just don’t touch your eyes after handling it, or you’ll be in BIG TROUBLE! I added the spices: ground cumin (for that great Mexican flavor), black pepper, oregano, fresh parsley, and a ton of fresh cilantro. Then I skinned three huge heirloom tomatoes and crushed them into the pot with my hands, juice and all. Some people strain part of the juice or it’ll become too soupy, but I wanted the liquid for the sirloin steak. I just shoved the leftover steak on the bottom of the pot and let that liquid soften it up until it was tender and stringy. Once it was, I removed the steak, let it cool, pulled all the meat off the gristle, tossed the bad bits, and added the meat back into the chili!
Finally, I love a dollop of sour cream on top of my chili, but dairy is a caveman no-no. So I made some fresh creamy guacamole instead!
- 2 or 3 avacados
Usually I spice up the guac with jalapeno, but this time I left it completely mild, since I wanted to cool down that habanero in the chili, like sour cream does. And it needed cooling down! It’s amazing how a little habanero pepper, the size of a ping pong ball can turn an entire pot of chili into an inferno! But it did. It pushed even me to my heat index limits. There was sweat at my hair line and on the back of my neck, just the way I love it! Look at this beauty:
Ground beef and sirloin, and all those wonderful veggies, with the cool creamy guacamole on top. A complete caveman meal, no beans or salt! Serve it over the caveman fries, and it’s still a pure food meal. For a mini cheat, serve it over an organic hot dog, or serve it with some salt-free organic corn chips. It was cold and rainy in LA all weekend too, so it was perfect. Try it at your next Superbowl party, and instead of “Touchdown!” people will be yelling, “Ugga-Bugga!”