The porridge experiment (part 3)

This is part 3 of 3. Yes, the porridge experiment is (mostly) over. I did the rice thing for a few more days and then decided to “hipsterise” my breakfast. Even though I dislike chia seeds (’cause they always get caught between my teeth), I decided to swap the rice for soaked chia seeds. When I ran out of black sesame seeds I started using tahini (I have since learned black tahini exists, so will be buying that one in the future). The (activated) walnuts and goji berries stayed, and in the beginning I added a tablespoon of coconut milk, too. I’m still having two boiled eggs on the side for protein. So, basically I’m eating a ton, at least a ton more to what I used to eat before for breakfast.

I have roughly the same thing most mornings. Other days I do anything from a protein green smoothie to bacon and eggs to fresh oysters from the market.

Life after porridge: bacon, eggs, kale, avocado, kimchi #paleo #primal #glutenfree #grainfree #realfood #jerf

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

Breakfast of champions #oysters #zinc #paleo #primal #glutenfree #grainfree #realfood #jerf

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

The treatment is working, but I don’t think there’s any magic to the breakfast the Chinese doctor recommended, but rather to having a solid breakfast every morning. Plus, of course, the herbs. I guess this means intermittent fasting is not good for me at this stage.

Review: Roll’d (Sydney CBD)

My friend Sebastian and I had spied Roll’d as a possible lunch destination. I knew this was a franchise and, to be honest, it looked very fast food-y. Expectations were not the highest, but we decided to give it a shot anyway.


We ordered goi (Vietnamese salad) with prawn & pork for me and chicken for Sebastian. The salads come with prawn crackers in a separate bag. There’s an option to add extra meat for $2 but the regular amount was fine for us. You are also given the option for some extra fresh chilli at no extra charge. Salads were great, fresh, tasty and reasonably filling.

Pork & prawn salad

Pork & prawn salad ($9.50)

Chicken salad

Chicken salad ($9.50)

We also ordered a couple of low carb soldiers (rice paper rolls). Yes, low carb. These come with fresh vegetables instead of vermicelli and were great. Each comes with your choice of sauce in a small container, and there’s always the option to buy extra.

Rice paper rolls

Fish, chicken rolls

Fish, chicken low carb soldiers ($3.90 each)

I have also tried the salad with lemongrass beef, but my favourite so far is pork and prawn. Given the recent heat wave in Sydney I haven’t been keen on trying the pho, which you can order low carb (with less or no noodles), just yet.

Roll’d O’Connell St
Shop 3 & 4, Swire House
10 Spring St
Sydney NSW 2000
(Enter store off O’Connell St)
(02) 9233 6728

Roll'd Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Thr1ve new gluten-free buns

Thr1ve has recently introduced sandwiches in gluten-free buns to their menu. Yep, gluten-free buns are still buns (i.e. a source of excess carbohydrate that you may or may not need) but sometimes it’s nice to sink your teeth in a pillowy starchy bun.

An inside source told me Notorious P.I.G. (Asian style slow roasted pulled pork w. kaleslaw & sesame seeds) was his favourite of the range, so that’s what I ordered. I liked the fact that it comes tightly wrapped (burger-style) and packed in a box for easy transport. The sandwich looks small but it’s pretty filling. The meat was awesome but I was not a big fan of the crumpet-y bun. I do know it has better ingredients than most commercial gluten-free buns, so I would rather eat these.

Notorious P.I.G.

Notorious P.I.G. ($10)

So far my top gluten-free buns are from Grill’d for ingredients and Bar Luca for taste and texture.


MLC Centre
Shop 28, level 6
19-29 Martin Place
Sydney 2000 NSW
(02) 9221 8173
On Facebook

Thr1ve Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Recipe: Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo (smashed plantains, mussels and chorizo)

Last time I went to Tienda Latina to buy food for my birthday I noticed they had sliced and pre-cooked ripe plantains in the freezer. I grabbed a bag without even asking for the price and started thinking what to do with them.

Frozen sliced ripe plantain

It didn’t take me too long to decide: I wanted to make a version of majarisco, a dish from the North of Perú that features plátano majado (smashed plantains) and seafood. To keep things simple, I used frozen mussels and chorizo (also bought at Tienda Latina) for this version.

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo
Yield: 5-6 servings

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo


  • 500g frozen pre-cooked plantains (or 500g fresh plantains, sliced and cooked in fat)
  • 500g chorizo
  • 1-2 Tb fat of choice (I used ghee)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tb chilli paste (I use Peruvian ají panca but any kind will do)
  • 1kg frozen mussels
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fish (or vegetable) stock
  • 2 Tb apple cider vinegar

To serve:


  1. Smash plantains with a pestle or similar heavy object.
  2. Slice chorizo.
  3. Chop onion and garlic, cook in fat on medium heat until soft. Add chilli paste.
  4. Add chorizo, stir until completely cooked.
  5. Add plantains, stir.
  6. Add mussels, wine, fish stock and vinegar, reduce until a thick sauce is formed.
  7. Serve with greens and salsa criolla, garnish with coriander.

Review: Bar Pho (Wintergarden, Sydney CBD)

Bar Pho, who make one of my favourite Pho in Sydney have stepped up from markets and pop-ups to a permanent location at The Wintergarden, a posh food court conveniently located close to my office.

A proper shop means a bigger menu. Apart from their awesome beef pho, there are a couple more soup options, as well as salads, rolls and rice paper rolls. All of their food is MSG-free and most is gluten-free as well. The first time I had a big bowl of Master Pho with a rich, flavoursome broth cooked for 18 hours, plus lots of fatty tender grass-fed beef and the usual suspects. I ordered mine without noodles and extra marrow and left completely satisfied.

Master pho with marrow

Master pho ($12.50 large) with marrow ($2)

The next time I visited I tried the chicken & mint salad (poached chicken breast, mint, cabbage, carrot, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and classic nuoc nam dressing). I liked the flavour, the generous serving and the higher than usual protein:vegetable ratio.

Chicken & mint salad

Chicken & mint salad ($12.50)

Sebastian, however, was not impressed by his lemongrass beef & papaya salad (warm lemongrass grass-fed beef, papaya, mint, crushed peanuts, jasmine rice and spicy sweet chill and soy dressing). He remains loyal to Little Vietnamese Food.

Lemongrass beef & papaya salad

Lemongrass beef & papaya salad ($13)

Looking forward to trying more items off the menu.

Bar Pho

The Wintergarden
1 O’Connell Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9241 4597
On Facebook

Bar Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Product review: Ecobar raw energy bars

Shout-out to my classmate Rob who posted a picture of Ecobars on Facebook. I’ve been wanting to try cricket bars since I heard about Exo bars 1-2 years ago, but they were not available in Australia. Now we have Ecobars, made with cricket flour, perhaps the most sustainable source of protein.


I bought these for $3.95 each at Healthy Living. The currently available flavours are mango orange and chia spirulina. We liked both and no, you cannot taste the crickets. Maybe because the flour is not one of the top ingredients, which also means the bars are higher in carbs than protein.

Chia spirulina Ecobar

Ingredients in the chia spirulina bars are: dates, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cricket flour, apple juice concentrate, spirulina, coconut oil, lemon extract, rosemary extract (14.2g CHO, 4.8g protein). And in the mango orange bars: almonds, dates, mango (dried & extract), cricket flour), orange juice (powder & concentrate), coconut oil, rosemary extract (14.2g CHO and 4.4g protein). Texture-wise, the bars are on the soft side, sort of cake-y. Not bad, but I prefer crunchier ones. Next time I’ll freeze them.

Mango orange Ecobar


The porridge experiment (part 2)

Here’s an update on my breakfast experiment. As you may recall from part 1, the Chinese doctor asked me to eat porridge with black sesame, walnuts and goji berries for breakfast in order to boost my qi. Being always open to experimentation in the quest for optimal health, I decided to give it a go at least for a couple of weeks. My main concern was having a big whack of carbs first thing in the morning, which I expected to mess with my blood sugar regulation, hunger and potentially digestion. I was also worried about gaining to much weight from the extra carbs and giving up my morning keto-induce alertness. On top of that, my coach wants me to up my protein intake to put on more muscle.

To address potential carb-related issues, I did not use glutinous rice as indicated in the recipe I found. Instead, I cooked the first batch with medium grain rice, the second batch with a mix of medium-grain and basmati and subsequent batches just with basmati. Basmati is the lowest glycaemic-index rice, so does not rise blood sugar as much as other types. Every batch yields 4-5 serves, which means that every time I eat breakfast the rice has been cooled and reheated, increasing its resistant starch content (this is food for gut bugs). I’m also having a smaller serve than the big bowl that the “fish food lady” suggested, and adding two boiled eggs to increase the protein content (see pic below). I tried it with a scoop of protein powder (French vanilla-flavoured WPI) one day but didn’t like it, first because I don’t like sweet breakfasts, and second because the combination made the stevia aftertaste very noticeable.

Black sesame porridge

So far I haven’t had any digestive issues. Some days I do get hungry at mid-morning, which is annoying, but I haven’t felt too groggy/tired. I’ve also noticed that the carb content is not an issue if I eat low carb the rest of the day. I’ll probably keep having this breakfast for a couple more weeks to see if it really makes a difference.

Product review: Keto Bar (caramel flavour)

My chiro and I have this joke about a product that he sells in his practice: Keto Bars by Metagenics. These certainly don’t look as appetising as other popular brands in the market (e.g. Quest bars), in fact they have decided to make them look as the rest of their supplement brand either to reinforce their practitioner-only status and/or to save money in marketing.

Keto bar

Long time ago Daniel wanted to know my opinion about the ingredients list (see photo below) from a Nutrition student point of view. Being aware that I’m an advocate of minimal processing, he knew I would qualify it as crap, but still wanted me to give it a try and provide some feedback. So he gave me a caramel-flavoured bar (the most popular flavour) and recommended chugging plenty of water when eating it.

Keto bar

First off, I should say I think the product name is misleading. Per bar, the total amount of carbs is 20g, 6g coming from sugar. Lower carb than most bars, yes, but not necessarily keto. Protein content is 18g per bar (not bad, althoug it comes from both soy and whey) and fat content is 6g. The bars do not contain gluten, wheat, eggs and salt and according to the package, “contain nature identical flavours”, whatever that means.

The bar has a chocolate coating and a “caramel” filling. It’s on the soft side and, much to my surprise, it tasted better than Quest bars, a bit less artificial IMO. It was incredibly sweet, though (see? you don’t really need to put 6g of sugar in each bar, Metagenics people). Daniel’s advice re: water worked well to help offset the sweetness, although I think he was more concerned about digestibility.


Do I think these are healthy? As always, it depends. If they are going to replace a less healthy alternative with empty calories from sugar, then yes, these can be a step in the right direction.


Recipe: Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables

As much as I love collecting and trying new recipes, there are some times when I have a particular craving and I know I won’t find the recipe in a cookbook. Luckily, it wasn’t anything too crazy or complicated to make. Hope you like it as much as I did.

Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables
Yield: 5-6 servings

Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables



  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 medium capsicum
  • 1 medium fennel
  • 1 medium onion
  • 200g Portobello mushrooms
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup macadamias
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper


  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice
  • 1kg ground beef
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven at 170°C.
  2. Chop the vegetables in large chunks, place in a large roasting tray, season with olive oil and salt.
  3. Wrap garlic cloves, unpeeled, in foil and place in a corner of the roasting tray.
  4. Roast vegetables for 40-50 minutes.
  5. Turn off oven and remove garlic from tray (leave the tray in the oven to keep the rest of the vegetables warm), squeeze cloves into the jug of a food processor or blender along with the rest of the pesto ingredients. Process until it reaches desired consistency, season to taste.
  6. Heat fat of choice in a saucepan and brown meat. Season with salt and pepper, stir until cooked through.
  7. Mix beef and pesto and serve on top of vegetables.

Review: The Norfolk (Surry Hills)

Here’s a pub that ticks all the boxes: central location, good vibe, wide array of booze, tasty food, and a menu where all items can be made gluten-free. The theme is Mexican (or Tex-Mex I should say), not only for decor and food but also drinks.

Norfolk Hotel

My sister and I shared the barbacoa pork feast, a plate of adobo rub pork for 2 with pickled jalapeños, curtido, salsas, gluten-free tortillas instead of soft rolls, and fries. We both loved it and are keen on coming back to sample more dishes.

Barbacoa pork feast

Barbacoa pork feast ($36)

The Norfolk
305 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9699 3177

The Norfolk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato