Thursday, September 30, 2010

Basic Crepe Experiment and the 20/40 Minute Rule

Americans don’t dine. We bolt down our food like starving dogs. Don’t believe me? Go to any restaurant and just watch people. When you eat at home, observe your family while they’re eating, that is if you're sitting at a table instead of gorging in the car on the way to some activity.

And its no wonder, when we spend so much time rushing from job to home, to after school activities with the kids, rushing around like ants from one task to another. If you’re in college and juggling a job and kids it's oh so much easier to either shove something into the microwave or go to the nearest take out.

Afterwards we feel the results, and are advised to take a little purple pill, or some other concoction to keep down what we ate. And if we sit down and really think about it, the food we’re eating is too noxious to digest, not just the first time, but time and time after that.

Who wants that?

I’m guilty as charged. After it occured to me that I eat way too fast, I decided to time myself. It took me ten minutes to eat a large salad, chicken breast and a piece of fruit.

Ten minutes.

I have no idea what it all tasted like. But I got the after effect, in spades.

I decided to look back into my French roots (yes French, not Irish as I had been told) and see exactly what this whole two hour lunch thing was about.

I found the concept incredibly simple, elegent, perfectly sensible. And very much in line with Dharma.

It’s about mindful eating. Its about relaxing and truly savoring and enjoying what you’ve eaten. Something my teacher advised about a while back and somehow forgotten. But more on that later.

 Right now, I want to give you a gift. I present to you the 20/40 minute rule. It's not my idea, this concept has been around a while.

Here's how it works:

Spend 20 minutes on breakfast and lunch. Set a timer if you have to. You must eat at a table, whether it's in the break room at your office, or in the park or at a cafe. You cannot eat in the car, at your desk and for God's sake don't eat breakfast like I did when I was in nursing school, hunched over the kitchen sink!

Take your time and savor your food. Eat small portions. Stop and rest between bites. Engage in conversation with your family or co worker. You can do a concise meditation practice while you eat. (More on that later.) 
Dinner is a little different. The idea is to dine for 40 minutes. It’s not hard, but it does take practice, because gorging and dashing is a nation wide bad habit. You cannot eat in the car on the way to class or soccer practice. You cannot do this in front of the tv or while on the computer. You must sit down and actually acquaint yourself with  your dinner plate as well as wit your dining companions.

 Relax and enjoy your meal. Taste what you’re eating, really taste it. You might find, like I did, that I rushed through certain foods simply because I didn’t like them but was expected to eat them anyway. (remember all those starving kids in Africa?)

 Take potatoes for example. I used to drown them in sour cream, gravy, cheese, butter, anything I could find to make them palatable. When I quit eating potatoes and tried a French fry not too long ago, I realized that it tasted like dirt. Greasy dirt. I didn't like potatoes. I never had, because they taste...well...dirty...I did the logical thing. I stopped eating them. Potatoes are no longer part of my diet. And honestly? I don't miss them.

That said, I want to introduce you to the idea of preparing your own food, sans microwave if you don't already. Preparing your meal should be as enjoyable as eating it, after all.

Therefore, I’m leaving you with my favorite paleo inspired recipe for the simple crepe. Don't let the idea of making a crepe intimidate you.. They're easy to make and...well give it a try and let me know how it turns out. 

Bon apetit.

Paleo Crepe

This is one of my experiments. I tried it a year or so ago after mimicking a basic crepe recipe and found it quite good, a little flakier than usual with a slightly nutty flavor. In fact, my mouth waters just thinking about it. This recipe makes two medium sized crepes.


¼ cup of almond flour
1 egg
2tbs of coconut milk
2 tbs water
1 1/2 tbs of coconut oil, melted


In a large mixing bowl whisk together the almond flour and the egg. Gradually add in the coconut milk and water, stirring to combine. Then add the coconut butter and beat until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle using approximately ¼ cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface of the griddle.

Cook the crepe for about two minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook on the other side. When the edges curl it’s done. Remove, add your favorite fillings and roll it into a tube, or just eat it plain. Personally I like to stuff mine with lightly sauteed apples, onions walnuts and a good quality extra lean sausage.

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