You may recall that during the summer I went on the Dukan Diet. This diet consists of four stages, the last one of which is “the rest of your life”. Scary sounding or what? It’s not that bad really. Dr. Dukan makes you promise that after you’ve lost the pounds and stabilized your new weight, you’ll stick to three rules. For ever. These are:
- Eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran per day (it’s got magical powers!). Not oats mind you, oat bran. It’s different. Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain and contains loads of good stuff. See this and this for more info.
- Walk at least 20 minutes per day and never use lifts or escalators again. Gulp.
- Once a week on a day you’ve set, go back to the Attack phase (1st stage). That means eating only protein. Lean meats, fish, seafood and fat free dairy. Dr. Dukan calls this Protein Thursday.
Another thing you’re supposed to stick to although not actually mentioned in the rules, is drinking 2 litres of water a day.
To be honest I’ve broken 2 out of the above 4 rules. I can’t keep up with the water and I can’t deal with the metro station stairs at 8:00am. I know I know, water is vital, I’ve read all the same magazine articles as you. But I just don’t get thirsty enough to guzzle that much, plus the loos at work are on a different floor (sorry, too much info). Anyway. I try. As regards the walking, I figure since I ride twice a week I can get away with not walking that often. Or, ahem, not walking at all. Moving on.
Oat bran and Protein Thursdays are a different story. These I have stuck to religiously. My Thursdays are actually Mondays, but you’re allowed to switch. Mondays are crap anyway, so how much worse can they get? To be fair, eating pure protein (even back in the diet days) wasn’t as hard as I had expected. I’m lucky because I like all the allowed foods – and really love cottage cheese, yogurt and eggs, which are stars in this particular show. The only really hard part was, still is, thinking up creative and exciting meals for those times when a plain chicken breast just doesn’t cut it.
Last Monday I decided my dinner was going to be smoked salmon and eggs. Now normally I would scramble the eggs and have them on the side, but I was in the mood for something different. And I’d already had one scrambled egg for lunch! So I went with a frittata, which I think is one of the most versatile dishes you can bake up. The proper way to make it is start it off like an omelet in a skillet, and finish cooking it under the grill. But you can also just bake it (less washing up).
It’s a great “clean out the fridge” dish, as you can throw in a number of veggies or leftover meats. This one is of course pretty basic, as veg is not allowed on Pure Protein (PP) days, but if you’re on the Cruise Phase (or not on a diet at all) some chopped red pepper, or cooked broccoli florets, or spinach would work well. Cooked chicken, bacon, sausage or deli ham and turkey are also great in frittatas. Since PP days allow a little greenery as flavouring, chopped chives and dill were what completed my version. I could have also added some capers but I, um, just thought of that now. Just so you know, I ate the whole thing all on my own which upped my intake to a total of 5 eggs that day. I’m on the side of those who say the egg/cholesterol thing is a myth.
Another cool idea is to put the mixture into silicone muffin cups (don’t use your muffin tin. Egg sticks. Trust me.) and make egg muffins. Perfect to keep on hand for snacking as the protein will keep you going for much longer than a carb-loaded regular muffin, or sandwich, or bag of crisps. Unless it’s one of those days when only crisps will make you feel better!
Simple Salmon Egg Frittata – For Protein Thursdays or Any Thursdays
2 Tbs milk (0% fat for Dukan)
200g smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
2 Tbs chopped fresh dill
2 tsp chopped chives (or some chopped spring onion, according to you taste)
pepper to taste (don’t add salt as the salmon is salty enough)
Sprinkle of chili pepper flakes or paprika
Low fat cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a small baking pan with the cooking spray. Don’t skip this step!
- In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and milk.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir.
- Pour mixture into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until the egg is set and cooked through.
Note: Stabilisation (4th) phase Protein Thursdays are stricter than Attack and Cruise phase PP days, so by rights I shouldn’t have eaten 200g of smoked salmon – max is 125g for oily fish I think. Just FYI.
Other eggy bakes from around the web Kalyn’s Kitchen (I didn’t need to look further, check out this fab collection of egg recipes)
Breakfast Casserole with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese and Goat Cheese by Kalyn’s Kitchen (easily adaptable to Dukan Diet Cruise Phase by omitting oil and goat’s cheese. Sautee leeks in a non-stick frying pan with a tiny bit of water and use more low fat cottage instead of goat’s cheese)
Roasted Green Bell Pepper and Roasted Tomato Breakfast Casserole with Feta and Oregano by Kalyn’s Kitchen (easily adaptable to Dukan Diet Cruise Phase by omitting oil and substituting feta with rinsed low fat cottage cheese)
Egg Muffins with Ham, Cheese, and Green Bell Pepper by Kalyn’s Kitchen (easily adaptable by omitting cheese (try rinsed low fat cottage cheese if you want) and using low fat ham. I’ve also made them with leftover cooked chicken chunks and they were great)