Friday, August 31, 2012

Ketosis - an experiment (high protein breakfast recipe)

Since starting this ketosis experiment, I’ve been a bit unsure about the amount of protein to eat. On the one hand, I was inspired to try this out because of Jimmy Moore’s recent posts about nutritional ketosis. He’s going extremely low carb and keeping his protein pretty low, too. I think he’s doing something like 85% fat. I know I wasn’t going to emulate that, but to simply keep my carbs under 50 grams total per day. My original breakdown had me eating a pretty large whack of fat and not a whole lot of protein. I had some good advice from my friend Jen, who urged me to up that to make sure I’m sparing muscle as I lose fat. I was still holding on to the fear that maybe too much protein would convert to glucose and knock me out of ketosis. The jury is still out on that one and it doesn’t look like it is probably the big deal I thought it was. Also, I just wasn’t naturally gravitating to eating as much protein as I thought anyway.


Still kind of confused, I listened to a podcast about protein (great timing – thanks Jimmy!) The expert on there recommended eating a minimum of 30 g of protein per meal for everybody. He said it didn’t much matter how big you are or what gender because that amount is has more to do with blood volume than body mass, which doesn’t vary that much across people. So interesting and so not what I thought. He did not think that the calculations based on body size were necessary. That minimum was good for all, although people who work out a lot would need more for repair. Listening to him speak, it made a great deal of sense so I’m going to try this. It happens to work well within the macronutrient amounts/percentages I’ve been using as my goals – Carbs: 48g/10%; Fat: 114g/70%; Protein: 95g/20% (this is within the framework of a 1900 calorie max, which I rarely even approach, by the way – it’s been in the 1550-1750 range).

The goals are great, but I’m usually short of this on my protein – a bit at lunch and definitely at breakfast. Dinner usually comes close to or hits the mark of 30 grams at a meal. As a result, I’m going to change things up a bit more, focusing first on breakfast. The first step is to stop with the Bulletproof Coffee in the morning. I’ve been getting a bit of protein in with it, but nowhere near the 30 gram level. I’m going to switch to a protein centered breakfast and build the other components around getting 30 grams in during that meal. I have a feeling that this change alone will put me on the right path. I’m also looking forward to stopping the caffeine again. I’m just not feeling all that great lately and I think it’s the caffeine, as much as I hate to admit it. How many times I need to go down this road in order to learn this lesson I’ll never know. Progress not perfection, I guess! A long holiday weekend is the best time to let it naturally get out of my system when I can sleep in and rest as much as I want.

30 grams of protein during the first meal of the day will be a challenge for me. It is not natural for me to eat that much in the morning, period. But I think it’s worth a try, so I’m going for it. To make sure it happens during the first week, I’m going to make the following recipe that I will make in a casserole pan and cut into six pretty large portions. It’s going to be A LOT of food for me, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll put the nutrient breakdown below as well so you can see how it fits into the context of my overall eating plan.

Sausage, Egg, and Spinach Bake
Serves 6
Each serving contains: 393 calories, 4g carbs, 29g fat, 30g protein

12oz loose breakfast sausage (US Wellness Meats)
1 onion, coarsely chopped (I used red)
2 cups frozen spinach
18 large eggs
Salt, pepper, seasonings to taste (I used a mixed seasoning from Trader Joe’s plus sea salt)
1 tablespoon butter or ghee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown up the sausage in a large oven-proof casserole pan on medium heat, breaking up the pieces as you sauté. When cooked through, empty the sausage into a large mixing bowl. Using the same pan, now greased from the sausage, add in the chopped onion. When the onions become translucent, add the frozen spinach and cook, stirring often, until thawed and most of the excess water has evaporated. Empty the contents of the pan once again into the mixing bowl. Let the contents of the bowl cool a bit for 5 minutes or so to prevent the eggs from starting to cook right there in the bowl. Use the cooling time to add the salt and spices of choice to the mixture as well as to add butter or ghee to the casserole pan you used to cook the sausage and veggies, using the residual heat to melt the fat and a pastry brush to coat the sides a bit (or grease a casserole dish, if your pan is too small).

Once cooled, push the contents of the bowl to one side and add the eggs on the other side (this just makes it easier to whisk the eggs). Whisk the eggs until fluffy and then incorporate the rest of the mixture before pouring the whole bowlful back into the casserole pan or into the greased casserole dish. Place the pan/dish in the oven and bake until solid, about 30 minutes. The eggs may puff up a bit, but will go back down when you take it out of the oven. Cut into 6 evenly sized pieces and enjoy your 30 grams of protein for breakfast!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of Go Kaleo? She has a facebook page you might find interesting. 50 grams of carbs a day is a little scary. You can be Paleo and still eat lots of carbs, but I'm sure you know that.

You look fantastic and are quite the inspiration!