Dana Carpender: What do you eat on a typical day?

4415406430_7a5ba031bb_o.jpgDana Carpender, author of several low carb cookbooks, generously gave her time to be interviewed for this blog site. Over several posts she will be sharing her wisdom about the low carb lifestyle.

My first question: What do you eat on a typical day Dana?

Honestly? Leftovers. 🙂 What with trying recipes, and only two people in the house, I eat a lot of leftovers. The summer I wrote The Low Carb Barbecue Book I ate chicken or ribs for breakfast every day for weeks.

In the absence of leftovers? Probably an omelet for breakfast, especially if there are ripe avocados in the house; cheese-and-avocado omelet with chipotle hot sauce is a big favorite of mine. Dinner will be a fairly simple protein — chicken, steak, burgers, pork steaks, something like that, with a low carb vegetable or salad with it if we feel like it. I confess we don’t always bother. If I want just a little something, I might well have shirataki with a fatty sauce – or just butter and Parmesan.

This is, of course, when I’m not working on a book. If I am, it’s a wild card! It depends on what sort of book it is, what I have in the house, what idea I’ve had.

If I snack, it’s usually on nuts. I’ve snacked less and less as the years have gone by, and as I’ve deliberately increased fat as a fraction of my calories.

Perhaps the most notable thing is that I have long since slipped away from the three-meals-a-day format. I rarely eat more than two meals a day anymore; I’m just not hungry enough. I try to do some intermittent fasting, so I often don’t eat until noon or one — a good 16 hours after I ate the previous night — although I drink copious quantities of tea.

Long-time readers will note that this violates a previously stated rule to always eat breakfast. I no longer consider that a hard-and-fast rule, but rather one that depends on circumstance. If someone works away from the house in a place where carby garbage is available, like the donuts in the break room or the candy bars in the vending machine, then I feel breakfast is imperative, even if it’s just a couple of hard boiled eggs or individually wrapped cheese chunks grabbed on the way out of the house. This is especially true for those who are just starting out, and not yet solidly in the mindset of “this is how I eat.”

But if, like me, you have more time freedom, and have achieved a blissful lack of regard for starchy, sugary stuff, postponing breakfast until you’re genuinely hungry is a good way to work in some intermittent fasting.

Too, I’ve lost the idea that some foods are “breakfast foods,” while dinner needs to be a protein and two veg. I’m perfectly happy having leftover chicken and coleslaw for breakfast, or whatever happens to be kicking around the fridge. And I’ve certainly been known to eat eggs for dinner, or just make something snack-y, like Chicken Chips. (Chicken skin spread on the broiler rack and baked until crisp, then salted. Yum. I buy 10-pound bags of chicken skin from my speciality butcher.)

One other oddity: I don’t feel any need to snack during movies or television. It’s common for people to feel that there should be something they can munch on mindlessly for hours while consuming entertainment, but low carb foods don’t lend themselves to that. They’re filling. Eat a bucket of mixed nuts the size of even a small movie theater popcorn and you’ll make yourself sick. People need to get away from the idea of food as entertainment.


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