Monday, August 11, 2008

Food: steak and kidney casserole

One pound diced beef, two pig's kidneys, one onion, one carrot, tin of tomatoes, few mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper plus a little water to just cover. Simmer for three hours (I like my meat to melt in the mouth).

OK, spot the hidden mistake?

This is what I cooked and I only realised when I was turning it off to let it stand over night: There's NO BUTTER or DRIPPING in the pot!!!! I'm out of dripping at the moment so, as a matter of some urgency, I threw in the remains of a part used 250g block of butter. Probably about 100g. This stew will probably do three portions, might freeze some and take it to work. There is no way to cook eggs at work, so usually I have cream and chocolate for lunch but the occasional cold serving of casserole is nice. People seem shocked to see me eat "ordinary" food.

Hee hee. I always explain that the meat is for show, the fat is what I'm eating.



Lex Lavalier said...

Hi Peter, I've been reading your blog for a while now since I follow the same dietary guidelines you do. I do have access to a stove at work so I have the luxury of being able to cook eggs at work! I don't know if you have addressed this before, but what are your views on cooking meat? I noticed you are a fan of crock you buy into the hype that cooked meat is not as "nutritious" as raw? I enjoy raw beef from time to time, marinated in lemon juice....but most beef tastes better to me slightly cooked.

Anyway, love the blog....keep up the good work!

Kajus said...

Hello Peter.I have some question about the best diet for muscle building,i try to train so little as possible ca 30 min 2-3 times pr .week.I like youre way of eating,but I read so much about window of possibility after traing for eating fast carbo,but this is strange if we think about stone age people they didnt have any powerbar or fruit after hunting ore fighting???low blood suger shuld be anabolic?Sorry for my bad enlish

Peter said...

Hi I.A.

I like well cooked casseroles and they are very easy and cheap... Given a thick steak seared on the outside and warm and red in the middle I would return to the restaurant when I could afford to!

Loved browsing your blog, but I need to know: Is the header pic the chimney at Chernobyl? The red bands (in grey on the pic) are correctly spaced, there's the correct number of bands before the support structure flares... Interesting cow videos too btw (more on topic)!


Lex Lavalier said...

Good eye Peter, yes it is the chimney at Chernobyl.

Aaron said...

Peter, I enjoy this site immensely. I don't mean to single you out, but I think we have an opportunity here to really test your theories. Any chance you might get a heart scan (like done to test what level of calcifications you may have? My concern is that optimal values bodily functions don't always seem to equate to perfect health (or even the science of how bad sugar is supposed to be). If your diet is perfectly healthy - you shouldn't show any blockages barring extreme family history. You would put the doubters away!

Peter said...

Hi Aaron,

Yes, it would be good. The biggest problem I have is that there are only two or three centres in the UK that can do it and the bill is at least $1000. After a period of living on a PhD grant plus £150 per week we have gone on to the "Special" version of the OD. That is, if it's on special offer, we buy it. Eco driving to get to work, as described by Stephan. The recent work stint has stabilised life but... Maybe a scan for Christmas.

BTW there was a commenter on Dr Davis' blog, eating a high saturtaed fat with LC diet and a score of zero. Got some strange response from a healthy oils, low cholesterol commenter (NOT Dr D) that a score of zero means nothing, fatty streaks, soft early plaque, just you wait five years blah blah zzzzzzzzz.

But it would be nice to get one...


Peter said...

Hi Jostein,

I don't really do muscle building except what happens by accident when I shift concrete and I'm not particularly well muscled at the moment. I'm really more interested in disease modification rather than anything else. Have you had a look over at Chris' blog at Conditioning Research? He'll have far more pointers than me...


emil henry said...

Hahahaha. Brilliant.

I seem to be reacting to bacon, as well as cheese (regular type, and possibly cottage cheese; not cream cheese). The day after eating them, even in moderate amounts, I get either knee joint pains or just "clicky" knee joints. Any suggestions? I think it's the preservatives, or the iodized salt. I can only notice it while walking on asphalt or squatting, though.

I apologize for asking all these questions.

I used to be obese with poor eating habits (went lowcarb for a little more than a year ago). Could these symptoms decrease over time as the body fixes a possible build-up of purine from an excess fructose diet?

Thanks in advance,

Anonymous said...

I am more worried about the various chemicals in bacon - nitrates, MSG, etc. Cottage cheese has carrageenan usually, which many are allergic to and can directly mess up the gut. I would look for ricotta instead with no carrageenan. Many foods nowadays have these toxic additives. Salt is unlikely to be the problem, cut out all chemicals and additives and see if that helps. Meat often has these toxic additives too. They should be declared on the package.

Anna said...

I'm trying your steak and kidney recipe tonight, minus the 'shrooms (don't like 'em), with a few TBL each of butter and home-rendered lard added first to sweat the onions & carrots, and fresh tomatoes from the local CSA box. I'm cutting the quantity back some because my portion of (Montana grass fed) bison round steak was on the small side, so I only defrosted one pig kidney, too. We're a family of three, so it should be about right.

I wasn't sure if you simmered in the oven or on the stove top. I chose the stove top.

Unknown said...

This is Anna, but I'm on my husband's computer (son & hubby are on mine playing Sim City).

Post-dinner report: excellent steak and kidney!

My version turned out more like stew - perhaps I used a little too much water (beef broth would have been very good or perhaps dry red wine - or a small bit of oxtail to enrich the sauce). The kidney was very tender (& tastes slightly like mild liver), the diced bison round steak could have been a bit more tender, but I had to shut the stove off after one hour of cooking to fetch my husband, stranded at the bus station (his car is in the shop and bus service to our neighborhood was completely stopped -poorly timed budget cuts- three days ago. I had to boil the stew a bit harder than I would have liked to make up for the lost 3/4 hour or so. Should have used the Crock Pot, but then I would have had to start cooking earlier in the day. I probably used a little less than twice as much meat to kidney.

I thickened the gravy slightly with about 2 TBL of crème fraîche at the end, as well as provided some crème fraîche for garnish at the table (chopped parsley, too). I also steamed cauliflower, then puréed it with butter & some crème fraîche, sort of like mashed potatoes. Heirloom tomato slices, pepper-coated chevre with EVOO was our salad.

Son, nearly age 10, ate without comment about the food other than saying the meat was "really" tender and fell apart easily when he chewed it. I nearly fell apart laughing, but kept mum about it being kidney. My neighbor (she's our cats' vet) couldn't believe I would serve our family a "filter" and she predicted my son wouldn't like it.

Thanks, Peter, for provided just the right incentive to get one of those packets of kidney out of the freezer. I'm encouraged to defrost some more and try something else. The cats weren't wild about me adding kidney to their food so I guess it's ours now.

emil henry said...

Thanks for the reply, Bruce.

The common factor between the bacon and hard cheese is sodium nitrate. My dad eats a lot of same cheese and does sometimes complain about his knees when walking on asphalt.

Norway is quite strict on food labelling. No carrageenans in either of the cheeses. My cottage cheese is preserved with potassium sorbate. I haven't isolated it for reaction, as I've always had with the the other type of cheese, which I have isolated for reaction.

Peter said...

Hi Anna,

Glad the casserole turned out well. We're eating quite a lot of this. Liver with onions too.


marco said...

Hi Peter.

I read somewhere on the web (and in some references about HIGH-FAT diets promoting GI tract cancers or HIGH-FAT diets being one of the risk factors for gastric cancer (yes... with smoke, alcohol, H. Pylori, maybe sodium intake and probably others).

But it seems to me neither Dr. JK nor you aren't so worried about that; on the contrary somebody on the Web promotes hyper ketogenic (HIGH-FAT) diets to starve cancer.

Are studies linking gastric cancers to HIGH-FAT diets just rubbish?

I know for sure that (it's my own experience) a low-carb (high fat or not) diet cuts off reflux problems.
But what about the stomach lining and risk of gastric cancer with animal food?

"Out there" they seems to be very convinced that fruit and vegetables reduce your risk of gastric cancer, and since I have a story of chronic gastritis (yes, H.P. positive) I'm just a little worried by that.

Any ideas?

Thanks for your blog, Peter, it's really wonderful.


Peter said...

Hi Marco,

Have a look here and here.

Saturated fat plus sugar equals cancer. Omega 6 fats plus sugar is the worst. Saturated fat alone (maybe plus some omega 3s) is a potential therapeutic approach to cancer. You can count the number of high fat studies on your fingers and toes (I exaggerate, but only slightly). Counting the number of papers describing high sugar diets as high fat diets would need several kilos of millipedes!


PS there's a post on Helicobacter here.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone break down this study into "English"? ;-)

Also, does anyone have thoughts or studies on usage of Ph basic items like baking soda to make the body run better?

Fat Oxidation in Men and Women Endurance Athletes in Running and Cycling

Unknown said...


Just found you site and it's fascinating

Was wondering your opinion on the value of fat from vegetable sources- ie nuts.avocados, etc v saturated animal fat?



Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Just recently found your blog and am really enjoying all the information.

My question has to do with acid load (PRAL) in regards to JK's diet. If carbs (as in fruits and vegetables) are kept to a minimum, the majority of our calories come from acidic sources (protein and fat). Could this be a concern, or is the whole acid/alkaline theory just not well substantiated?

Also, from what I gather you started out on Atkins. Did you have a lot to lose? How did that go and what prompted you to try JK.
Maybe that's another post.

Thanks for your responses to all our questions.


marco said...


Just re your post about Helicobacter, I don't know if "the beast" loves glucose.
But it certainly does love hydrogen.
Which gives the same result: NO CARBS!
"Since the amount of hydrogen produced in the colon varies based on diet, and since the researchers have shown that H. pylori uses this hydrogen as an energy source, something as simple as a diet change could affect virulence and persistence of this and other pathogens.".


Peter said...

Hi Eddy,

I probably use a tablespoon a month of olive oil for flavouring bolognese sauce and a teaspoon per month of sesame oil to flavour stir frys, but that's about it. Dripping (beef tallow) and butter are pretty well my preferred calories after that. Less omega 6s.


Peter said...

Hi Mari,

I went back to basics and, as far as I can see, lipids from any source just generate CO2 for lung excretion plus water. We handle CO2 with a mass of buffers and I don't consider it an issue re PRAL. In fact, fatty acids generate less CO2 per unit oxygen utilised than carbohydrate.

After that you are in to acidic and alkaline products from individual amino acids in protein. The WHO has hens eggs as the gold standard biological highest value protein. Eating 40g of this protein per day meets your needs and 60-80g is generous. Once you start eating vegetable protein you are immediately in to low biological value proteins, which need mixing to meet your needs and disposal of the excess from that admixing. Why bother? If the minimum supply of the highest quality protein, ie that which meets our needs, requires plant proteins to neutralise its acidic toxicity, then the world is a stranger place than I imagined!

Maybe for people on 150-250g protein per day there may be more need to think about PRAL (though I've not seen any convincing evidence), but I tend not to worry as I'm down at maintenance. The other aspect which put me off is that the PRAL concerns come from an area of expertise which says fiber is good for you. Obviously dietitians cannot be wrong about everything, but they're doing pretty well so far!

I was somewhere about 67kg pre Atkins, dropped 8kg in a couple of months, realised I was way too thin and went via 62kg to my current 64kg over 6m-12m (I guess) and have been stable since. So I'm only down 3kg from my start weight, but the little pot belly is gone, I'm never hungry and I can put muscle on at will when I get off my posterior... ie not much at the moment!

Once I'd Pumed-ed the refs from Atkins the logic of weight control became obvious and the mass of health benefits knocked me over. So when I stumbled on to JK the impeccable logic of his approach was unarguable. I'm an anaesthetist by training, we do reductionism to the nth degree (patient is a set of physiological numbers, keep them within set limits and they survive!). I seem to have ended up with a reductionist approach to a holistic subject. Duhhhh?


Peter said...

Hi iwfc,

I haven't really teased the abstract apart but I do remember back when I was gassing horses on a regular basis and I had to read equine physiology papers by the kilo, this approach was tried in racehorses. Loading with oral bicarbonate to counteract the lactic acidosis which they develops at full gallop (hypoxaemia is the limiting factor in peak equine performance and lactate is generated in large amounts). As far as I remember (from 15 years ago), it didn't work, but you never know how the technique has been developed since. Olympic swimming comes to mind. Peak athleticism under limited oxygen delivery conditions...


marco said...


you said:
"I probably use a tablespoon a month of olive oil"...
Dripping (beef tallow) and butter are pretty well my preferred calories after that. Less omega 6s.".

We, in Italy, have Lard (lardo) and a sort of "Pig suet", derived from rendering of Lard, named Strutto.

Practically if you heat (or steam) lard you obtain Strutto, wich is liquid.

Lard and Strutto have about 10% of omega-6 (linoleic acid, 18:2), the same of olive oil.

Should one here consider to switch to butter (we don't have beef dripping)?


No Blood for Hubris said...

So what do you eat every day? Or if you have posted it before, where might it be? I've looked a little, can't quite find it.

Peter said...

Hi No Blood For Hubris,

There are a couple of posts labelled as "What do I eat" and a bigger number of labels beginning with "Food" . The labels list, low on the right, acts as an index.


Peter said...


Hmmm, but the Lardo looks so good. I think I'd take some hit from omega 6s for this, like the olive oil, but yes, butter for bulk calories might be better. Butter's pretty superb flavour wise too...


Ed said...

Peter, old old post I know. I've been plugging some of your "Food:" posts into a nutrition analyzer and I'm actually sort-of surprised at the relatively high level of protein vs fat. I was expecting Dr K levels of 2.5-3.5:1 fat:protein, but I'm not seeing it. For example, this recipe here, I plugged in "85% lean ground beef" for the diced beef, and 16 oz of tomatoes for the tin of tomatoes, and I come up with fat:carb:protein 41g:11g:43g.

Not complaining, just registering surprise. I'm trying to put a meal plan together for someone who isn't much interested in details, just wants directions, so I figured I should check my work before sending anything out.

Perhaps your diced beef is fattier than the 85% I'm presuming here? Or perhaps you're getting much higher fat:protein the rest of the day...

African Beef Stew comes up about 1.7:1 fat:protein.

I'm curious your thoughts... I'll probably look for fattier meat, I guess.

Peter said...

Hi Ed, it's 43g protein in that first meal, breakfast is egg yolks, maybe 20g protein. The rest of calories are butter and double cream spread around day. I make no attempt to balance each meal to JKs ratios, nor does he suggest this needed in his books....


Anonymous said...

LOL, with you on the wierd thing! A lot of times I make coconut bark (coconut butter, coconut oil + nuts, solidified - yum!) But if I'm out of coconut butter (which I have to order) sometimes I just crack an egg or two, get rid of the white and swallow the yolk. (PS theyre eggs from a farmer I know personally, no chance of contamination. DONT do this with eggs from the supermarket!) My local Starbucks (THE HORROR) have cream and I get a lot of wierd looks when I order 'americano with heavy cream'. Ah well. If youre ordering a skinny latte, there'll be more fat left for me. Why complain? ;-)