Primal

I’ve decided to try out a new diet that goes hand in hand with learning how to cook meat: the primal diet, also known as the paleo or caveman diet.  Basically, the diet asks that you eat like paleolithic humans ate.  This means no processed foods, no sugar and NO legumes or grains.  Instead, you eat a lot of meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some fruit, and fat (including saturated but not poly-saturated).  It also means certain types of exercising: no jogging, for example, because cave-people didn’t jog.  Instead you should walk (as if in search of food), weight train (as if carrying children or wood everywhere) and sprint/interval train (exit, pursued by a bear).  Of course this is probably historically and anthropologically inaccurate in several ways.  So let’s call it the Flintstones diet.  In any case, the idea is that by keeping carbs low, your body will burn excess fat instead.  And also it’s healthier to have a “lean body mass” or “LBM,” apparently.  This diet has been supplemented by the following workout, which I really like:

 

 

In sum, I’ve been strictly following this diet and work-out plan, and I’m super healthy and feeling great!

JUST KIDDING!!!

I lasted four days before I started making “exceptions.”  And the working out thing has been uneven as well.  And next week is thanksgiving, which will be one huge exception, minus the turkey.  However, I do notice that many diets suggest the elimination of sugar (including alcohol) and white flour/rice (and processed foods and soda, which I don’t really consume anyway).

In that vein, I’d like to introduce the following recipe: Bulgogi!  I haven’t eaten much Korean food over the years, despite living in LA, because I’ve been vegetarian, so I’m really just getting into it now.  One of the first dishes I had was a rice bowl with Bulgogi, a type of marinated beef that you often get at Korean BBQ places as well.  I don’t know how authentic the following recipe is, but it came out well.

Bulgogi

(recipe from Saveur, presented with my editorial comments)

This is for at least four people.  I only made a third of this, and ate it over a couple days.

2 lb. beef sirloin
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. ground black pepper
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
6 scallions, sliced
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
Green leaf lettuce, for serving
Gochujang (Korean chili-bean paste), for serving

1. Wrap sirloin in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Unwrap and slice across the grain as thinly as possible, about 1⁄6″; place in a bowl along with onion.  I couldn’t really tell which way the grain was going, so I just guessed.

2. Place soy sauce, oil, sugar, pepper, garlic, and scallions in a blender, and puree until smooth.  I might even add a thai chili in there, whether or not it’s authentic.   Pour over meat, and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Heat a large cast-iron grill pan or griddle over high heat. Working in batches, spread beef and onion mixture in one layer. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and cook, turning as needed, until charred and just cooked through.  It took about 8 minutes I think?

The marinade kind of cooked down into a glaze, which was nice.

Eat bulgogi atop lettuce leaves with gochujang on the side.  Now, I didn’t have any gochujang, nor do I really know what it is or where to get it, so I just used some chili garlic paste.  As you can see, I got myself a stack of lettuce leaves, some carrots, the chili paste, and some scallions in a separate bowl.  But really, I think the Bulgogi/onions and lettuce by themselves are the best combination.

And the final result was…good!  You may ask, was it as good as the bulgogi in a restaurant?  No!  Was it close?  No!  But that’s ok.  Not only was the meat edible (priority #1), but it actually tasted quite good.  I tried to make little lettuce wraps with the bulgogi, but those were kind of unwieldy, as lettuce wraps can be.  Maybe in the future they will be able to grow lettuce leaves that are very large and perfectly circular and don’t tear easily.  In fact I usually don’t like eating things with my hands at all, but then I guess doing it this way was more primal.

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