It’s true that I love men.  It’s also true that I’ve been single for 7 years.  If you put those two things together it’s really no surprise that as much as I love my girlfriends, I do look forward to those occasions when I get to hang with male friends and catch a glimpse of life from a testosterone-fueled point of view.  Plus, of course, the hugs.  The hugs are awesome.  Oh, and having the car door opened for you.  Love that.

I knew today was going to be a splendid Big Breakfast Adventure for two reasons:

1. I was going to spend it with two of my favorite men.  The kind of men you ask to be the executors of your Will because you know they would dot every i and cross every t in exactly the way you would want.  The kind of men you can just be yourself around.  The kind of men that would be there in a heartbeat if required.  Yes.  Those kind of men.

2. I was going to eat what I have long considered to be the best breakfast in Seattle, and let me tell you I’ve downed one heck of a lot of Seattle breakfasts in order to arrive at that happy conclusion.

I supposed I should concede that this was another Big Breakfast Adventure that wasn’t really an adventure, since I knew when we set the date weeks ago exactly what I would be having for breakfast, and how *SANE it would be.  The upside is that I also knew it would need no tweaking to pass the test – I could order it straight up and a dish of *SANEity is what I would get.  I have lost count of the number of people I have force-fed invited to enjoy Lola’s Octopus Hash.  Every single one of them loved it.  I even scheduled a meeting there with my boss at 7 am one Thursday so he could experience the amazingness of noshing on a cephalopod to get the day started.

What is this magical breakfast of champions?  Octopus Hash.  It’s listed as Tom’s Big Breakfast on the menu, but Octopus Hash is what it is.  Mike was all in with the whole octopus-for-breakfast-deal right from the get-go, while Jeff wavered between that and the Sausage Omelet.  When he enquired of our lovely server which he should have her response was swift and sure.  Three plates of Octopus Hash coming right up! Big Breakfast Adventure  |  Lola  |  Carrie Brown

What makes eating Tom’s Big Breakfast an adventure is that they change the ingredients all the time.  I have never had it show up the same way twice.  The Mediterranean octopus is always there, and an egg perched jauntily on top, but the other ingredients in the hash are always a surprise.  Today’s offering involved kale, chick peas, shallots…and oh how I wish I’d taken a shot of the menu so I knew what else was in it.  Their online menu says: Tom’s Big Breakfast – Mediterranean octopus, Delicata squash, Josh’s leeks, bacon, onion, heirloom peppers, sage, garlic yogurt, poached egg.  Gosh!  I almost wish that had been today’s version.  My new baby appetite struggled to get through it all, but I finally cleared up every last sprig of kale and slice of sautéed tentacle.  My taste buds thanked me for allowing myself to squeeze it all in.

There’s usually a fair amount of geek when the three of us breakfast, most of which I don’t understand, but they do teach me cool things to do with my phone other than read email and send text messages – the only two things I am really proficient at.  I realized how awesome having techie friends was last year when Mike totally saved my a**  as I got stuck in the middle of moving my website from one hoster to another.  Boy did he ever get a big old container of *SANE Triple Toasted Coconut Ice Cream and a jar of *SANE Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce to pour over it after he put all the bits back together and made it whole while I laid on his couch wailing and wringing my hands.

Today we talked about routines and how simple changes can wipe away all sorts of life stressors, and we mused on whether we’re starting to like routines because we’re getting older or because we’re getting wiser.  I voted for wiser.  But then I always come away feeling smarter when I’ve been around these two.

Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.



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  • Sylvia - Hi Carrie

    Sounds like you had an awesome time with your friends. It’s very comforting to have friends like yours who you know you can rely on and trust. Lucky you!


    Sylvia xxReplyCancel

  • Tammy Fuller - Sounds like a wonderful adventure. I’m not brave enough to try octopus, but the rest of the breakfast sounds delightful.ReplyCancel

It’s high time I told you what I’ve been downing for breakfast lately.  First off though, I really think I need to explain why I have changed course from drinking any of my other delicious Green Smoothies.  You see, it’s my appetite.  My once-legendary ability to eat Mr. Bailor under the table tanked about 6 weeks ago.  What that means in practical terms is that I simply cannot physically consume very much food any more, and consequently, when I do eat I have to focus only on the nutrient-dense essentials – the non-starchy veggies, the lean protein, and the healthy fats.

Enter The Hardcore Green Smoothie. spinach

I realize that this image is a pile of spinach and not a green smoothie.  You can expect a glass of green liquid by the time you’re done making it, rather like any of the other 7 green smoothie pictures I’ve already shot for you, although it’s true that they are not all green.

Let me be clear about a couple of things upfront: 1. I did not shoot this image of spinach, and if I knew who did I would credit them.  2. this smoothie does not taste delicious.  It doesn’t taste horrid by any means, but it is not scrumptious like the Strawberry Milkshake Smoothie or the Orange Creamsicle Smoothie.  It reminds me most of the flavor of peanut butter.  It has a vaguely nutty taste, but on the whole it really doesn’t taste of anything at all, which for me makes it perfectly palatable, just not something that makes my mouth go, “Wow!”  Given it’s purpose in my life at this point, I’m good with that.

So right now I have this for breakfast every day as a means to an end – to get the most nutrient-dense meal I can in as small a volume as possible.  At first I hesitated to post this, because delicious is what I do when it comes to recipes, but if you have times when you also need maximum nutrition and *SANEity in a small package, this may well be a great trick for you, too, as long as you’re down with more function than flavor.

While we’re on the subject of green smoothies, let’s take a quick refresher on what there is to love about spinach.  Spinach is a good source of niacin and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.  Amazing!  It looks so tame and unassuming.  This hardcore smoothie gives you 6 servings of non-starchy veggies where 1 serving = 1 packed cup = 1 oz / 30g.

Then the egg white powder storms home with 96% protein.  You get more than your 30g of protein in by using just 45g of powder – about 1/3rd cup – and there ain’t nothing else that can pack that kind of protein power into such a small space.  Finished up with some lovely medium-chain triglycerides in the coconut milk and you’re set.  *SANE as SANE can be.

Next time you want maximum nutrition in just one glass, go hardcore!

The Hardcore Green Smoothie
Author: Carrie Brown |
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
  • 1 cup / 8 fl oz. thin coconut milk (in a carton)
  • 1 1/2 oz. / 45g powdered egg white
  • 6 oz. / 170g fresh spinach
  1. Pour the coconut milk into the blender.
  2. Add the egg white powder and immediately blend on the lowest speed until mixed. This stops the egg white powder getting stuck on the sides of the jug and being wasted.
  3. Gradually push the spinach through the hole in the blender lid with the blender still running on low.
  4. Once all the spinach is added, blend on high until it is completely smooth and free from any pieces of spinach.


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  • Alvin - You’re awesome (or ORSUM, like I hear you pronounce it on the webcast)

    This is great becaus so many people focus on making the smoothie a dessert, when in fact nutrition should be the basis. I too have a similar formula only I add chia seeds for energy, greens powder, and use Whey Natural USA instead of egg powder.

    Another option is organic unsweetened kefir instead of coconut milk for a probiotic kick!

    Thanks againReplyCancel

  • Scott - Awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Wonder why your appetite tanked?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Coming soon! I am writing a blog post explaining why my appetite changed and everything else that’s been going on around here…ReplyCancel

  • Monicad - “I simply cannot physically consume that much food any more”

    Hi Carrie, I love that this ‘smoothie’ is so low carb/keto friendly.

    I’m curious regarding the quote above, is that because you, as one comment implied, have lost your appetite or because you want to lose weight?

    How long have you been doing this morning smoothie?
    How long does it satiate you?
    Is it *working?* for your goals?
    Would you publish your goals?

    Many thanks for all you do.
    Loads of Love
    Monica :)ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Monica – I lost my appetite. You do not need to reduce the amount of food you consume in order to lose weight. Is it working for my goals? My goal was to create a meal that provided maximum nutrition, fiber, protein and healthy fats in the smallest volume possible, so yes it is totally working for that goal.ReplyCancel

  • Keith - Thanks! I was looking for just this type of recipe. Something for breakfast that will maximize everything I’m looking for in my morning meal.

    Is this something you think would freeze well for thawing the night before drinking?

    I’d prefer to make a week of these ahead of time and then simply leave one out each night to thaw before drinking each morning if possible. My neighbors are great but I’d rather not test their ability to withstand the sound of a blender at 4am when I wake up.

    Thanks again for this perfectly simple, powerfully nutritious, and convenient recipe!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Keith – I would add 1/4 tsp guar gum to each serving to make sure it doesn’t separate and then try freezing. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work, but I would definitely add the guar gum to help. Guar gum is super useful in helping things freeze well. Let us know how it goes! I love the idea of making a whole weeks worth at one time!ReplyCancel

  • Keith - Excellent tip, I’ll give it a shot and let you know how it goes. Thanks again for the excellent recipe and support!ReplyCancel

  • Jerel - Hi Carrie,

    This smoothie looks awesome for those days when you just need to “git-r-dun” in the morning. Now on to the less pleasant portion of this message.

    I had kidney stones a couple of years ago, and they are extremely painful. The best way to prevent them is to drink a LOT of water every day. So far so good. However, the recommendations go on to say that you should limit your intake of dark leafy greens and PROTEIN!! Now I’m wringing my hands, because I really like this diet, but the last thing I ever want to do is to experience the pain of kidney stones again!

    How will I ever be able to eat SANEly and follow these guidelines? They are saying not to eat more than about 60g of protein per day, and limit consumption of things like tea, nuts, berries, citrus, and vegies like beets, carrots, cauliflower, spinache, kale, leeks, chard, eggplant…. there’s nothing left!! It seems like every non-starchy vegetable is high in oxalates!

    I’m more confused than a chameleon in a bowl of Skittles. Any advice you can give (and I know you’re not a doctor, blah blah) would be helpful.

    For reference, see and the website

    • carrie - Jerel – I strongly encourage you to head over to our Facebook Support Group and post this there. Dr. Cathy I know has personal experience of this exact thing and may be able to guide you far better than me. Dr. Mike may also have words of advice. I have also had kidney stones but have not had any issues since I went SANE 2 years ago and I eat 6oz of spinach and JB recommended amount of protein daily. However, that doesn’t mean they are not a problem for YOU! Please head to Facebook and see what our resident Docs have to say. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - About getting the spinach to properly pulverize: I’ve been buying raw fresh spinach in bulk at Costco, and then sticking it in ziplock freezer bags at home. It blends OHSOMUCH better than those bricks of pre-chopped, pre-frozen spinach, AND better than the raw fresh stuff too. Been very happy with this technique. Bonus: I no longer wind up with a bunch of very wilty (or worse, ew!) spinach leaves at the bottom of the bin near the end of the week.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Colleen – fantastic! I think I’ll try this. Will make it quicker in the mornings too :-)ReplyCancel

  • Alvin - For those looking to expedite the process, On Sundays I put spinach, kale, cilantro, mint, bok choy, and any other leafy green I can find including romaine and red lettuce, add some lemon or lime and blend it all up with water.

    Then I pour the mixture into ice cubes (I have big molds) and freeze.

    Now throughout the week when I want a green smoothie I just pop out a few cubes and add coconut milk and chia seeds and I am ready to roll. Takes drastically less time.ReplyCancel

  • Terez - So glad to see a green smoothie recipe without fruit. Am absolutely new to green smoothies but I’d been having an eggnog every day. Sounded much like your recipe here except raw milk instead of coconut milk, and a local pastured egg instead of powdered egg whites. Plus I add a tiny dribble of vanilla extract.

    Anyway, I added greens to my eggnog before blending. Also added half a teaspoon of honey because I was worried about the greens being bitter. But it wasn’t bitter at all; I will skip the honey from now on.

    I had thought of doing a green smoothie this way but was worried because all the other recipes I found included fruit. I don’t mind fruit but I don’t care for juice, and just prefer to eat my fruit than to drink it.

    Long, rambling way of saying Thank You for this green smoothie recipe!ReplyCancel

  • karen - Hi Carry
    Would it be better to use real egg white instead of powdered? I’m avoiding all processed food where possible. There must be a bit of work going into drying that egg white.

    • carrie - Karen – you absolutely can use egg whites instead, although I don’t think it will be “better”. A few things to note: You will need to use 11.5 egg whites per smoothie to get the same amount of protein. The smoothie will be much bigger because of all the water in the egg whites, and it will also be a lot more liquid. You may have issues with the egg whites whipping into a huge froth in the blender. Depending on what you pay for eggs, the cost will be higher, and could be considerably so. It will also take a lot longer to prepare. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Terez - Carrie, I see your reply to Karen and I am now looking up egg white protein. It appears (from a podcast transcript) that you use Honeyville Farm brand. Their pricing is good but they add sodium lauryl sulfate.

    Do you still use that brand, or have you found a good brand without the sulfate?


    • carrie - Terez / Leslie – JB and I use Honeyville. Obviously you can use any brand you prefer. The sulfate is just there to stop it caking together and to make the whites whippable. The amount is tiny.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - Just Whites from Deb El is 100% powdered egg whites, with nothing else added, including sodium laurel sulfate. I really like this brand! Just thought I’d pass it along…ReplyCancel

  • Denise - Here’s a suggestion of what NOT to do with this smoothie: DO NOT substitute 1.5oz of green power powder for the spinach. It will be extremely bitter, extremely thick, and extremely gross.
    Carrie, if I can finally get spinach powder online, what would the substitution amount be for the fresh spinach?

    • carrie - Hi Denise – I had the same experience with adding green power powder :-( I honestly don’t know the answer to your other question – I didn’t know you could get spinach powder! You would have to make a calculation from the packaging material for the equivalent of 6 oz of fresh spinach is and go from there.ReplyCancel

  • Denise Luhman - Carrie: the link to the powdered spinach is on JB’s store page on his site. It comes from znaturalfoods – the same place the green power powder comes from. They were out of stock for ages but they finally have it in again. Mine should be here soon.

    Btw, 3/4 oz of green power powder seems to work pretty well – much less bitter & thick, and actually drinkable. But I still can’t wait for my spinach powder. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie - I’m confused how this is 6 servings of vegetables … my 6oz bag of baby spinach from Trader Joe’s says it’s 2 servings? And I asked on the Facebook page and was told 2-3 cups of raw spinach or kale equal a serving.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Serving sizes and appetites are different for different people. Servings sizes are just a guide. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Nina - I have the same question as Bonnie! JB always says the most important thing is getting at least 10 servings of non-starchy veggies. My container of spinach also says that 3oz is a serving. I’ve been counting 6 oz as 6 servings. Which is true because if it is the former, I am getting way fewer veggies than necessary! Help!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Nina – are you eating protein and non-starchy veggies until you are full? Are you getting the results that you are looking for?ReplyCancel

  • Fresh Strawberry Smoothie… | Cut Cook Eat - […] reading Eat Smarter! Smoothies and Sides. Carrie calls the original smoothie from Bailor’s book The Hardcore Green Smoothie and I have to agree. It was not until I read Carrie’s book that I was tempted to try her version. […]ReplyCancel

  • Don - Jerel – take a look at this post by Dave Asprey – – it might give you some ideas for dealing with the oxalates, especially since you are already sensitive to them. Best of luck to you!ReplyCancel

  • Andy - Thanks for this idea – it’s just what I’ve been looking for! Just wondering if there is a reason that you prefer the egg white powder over other protein powders (like whey etc)?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Andy – egg white is 96% protein, so it’s pure, no additional ingredients and more bang for your buck, so to speak.ReplyCancel

  • Diana - I’m intrigued by your recipe. How do you keep your egg white powder from turning the smoothie into spinach merengue?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Diana – the fat in the coconut milk stops the egg whites from whipping – so no meringue! Hope that helps.ReplyCancel

  • Drew Thompson - Hey Colleen:

    I buy my spinach from Costco too, but when I get it home I put it on large baking trays for a couple of hours and every time I enter the kitchen I turn it over to dry it out. Then I re-bag it into zip locks and then roll them up to force the air out before I close them. I can get a good week in the fridge this way without it turning to that horrible green slime that was spinach.

    my two pence

  • Terez - I also buy organic spinach from Costco, as Drew mentioned. What I do is, I take the bag out of the clamshell and put the bag in my freezer as-is. It freezes up beautifully.

    To use it, I just open the bag, take a few handfuls, and drop them in the blender. Then I roll up the plastic bag and use a binder clip to keep it closed in the freezer as I gradually use it up, a few handfuls at a time.

    Granted I have an upright freezer (which is colder than the small freezer on a refrigerator). But that’s where I keep several bags. The bag I’m using is kept in the small freezer atop my fridge. Once in a while I pull the bag out when the freezer is on the defrost cycle, and some of the leaves are soft. But I just use what I need, put the bag back in the freezer, and it’s good to go the next time.

    There will be a little snowy frost in the bag. I just shrug and use it. Small price to pay for the EASE of this method.ReplyCancel

  • MinnesotaAnn - HELP PLEASE:

    struggling with (1½ oz/45g powdered egg whites) without running out to buy a scale can anyone give me approx. Tbls or Tsp amounts??


    • carrie - Minnesota Ann – it is approx. full 1/3rd cup. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - My egg white powder just arrived and I noticed it has sucralose in it, darn it! I used what I had with only half the spinach you use and almond milk and it tasted ok. Will have to look for coconut milk in a carton, have only seen it in cans here.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Ugh, Catherine! Why do manufacturers feel the need to adulterate everything??! I use Honeyville Egg White Powder. Coconut milk in a carton is just like very white cows milk in thickness.ReplyCancel

  • Wren - Finally got up the nerve to try the HARD CORE. Mine was a little bitter but a few drops of stevia fixed that. I used Jay Robb egg white vanilla protein and it has xylitol and stevia in it. Also from chickens not treated with growth hormones. 1 scoop has 24g of protein. I must admit I’m kinda missing my fruit in this smoothie but I sure do feel good about drinking it. I like being able to say I’m a HARD CORE smoothie girl! Whoop whoop!ReplyCancel

    • carrie - LOL, Wren! It’s not the best tasting, but it terms of nutrients and SANEity, it is the bomb. I admit there are some mornings where I have to choke it down :-)ReplyCancel

The weekend before I flew away to the sunny wine country of the Sonoma Valley I went on a Big Breakfast Adventure with an uber-talented photographer friend, Danny, and his smart, beautiful, and equally-talented-but-in-different-ways wife, Tina.  Danny is one of those people who is gifted with everything he touches.  Not only does he shoot amazing images, he is also a brilliant, multi-instrument-playing musician, and those two accomplishments barely scratch the surface of things that he has successfully turned his hand to.  Tina is busy studying Naturopathic medicine while running a successful business, and being wildly creative with fabrics in ways I can only dream of ever being able to do.  For years they have travelled to Venice every February to attend Carnival, Tina making all their stunning costumes and masks with her incredibly skilled fingers.  On top of all that artistry though, they are simply fascinating people.  Danny wears kilts, has a foot-long beard to go with his two-foot-long black hair, makes no apologies for the choices he makes about his life, and regularly wears a bowler hat.  They personify what it means to be who someone really is, and I just adore that about them.

When I posted on Facebook my intention to resume The Big Breakfast Adventure, Tina was one of the first with her arm in the air, waving wildly, “Me! Me! Pick me!”  I was equally thrilled.  I was also a tad nervous, because what with my mission to eat only *SANE foods, and Tina’s multiple food sensitivities, I realized we might be in for a tough time finding something suitable to quench our appetites;  La Bête’s menu indeed proved to be a weighty wrestling match, and there were more than a few moments when I thought we might all have to leave hungry.

La Bête lives in an unassuming – almost missable – grey, corner building right near what I like to call the Olive Way triangle.  This is like the Bermuda triangle without the water, and I have spent far too many hours of my life driving around its few short blocks over and over trying to figure out how to get to where I wanted to be.  This visit was no exception, but Bing maps and parking karma eventually prevailed and as I stepped from my trusty 4-Runner, Danny and Tina magically appeared less than 100 feet away.

La Bête is one of those places that you could walk past daily and never realize there was a charming restaurant inside serving up a delicious array of interesting foods.  Sophisticated old world elegance and a happy, eager staff make for a delightful experience.  The menu at La Bête is a panacea for adventurous food lovers as long as you’re ready for a hefty helping of starch in a myriad of guises. La Bete Seattle  |  Carrie Brown

Danny, who is not following a SANE lifestyle, took the plunge and gobbled up the biscuits with ham gravy and poached eggs, and declared them to be delicious.  Tina and her pesky dietary limitations worked with the our server to conjure up a plate of food that was both interesting and tasty, although other than that it involved a slice of pâté and some exotic-looking cauliflower, I do not recall the details.  And this is why it’s always best to write the same day as the day you ate the meal…

Hand on heart, my pre-SANE foodie’s interest was piqued by all the ingenious concoctions staring at me from the menu, but I stood firm to my mission to find *SANEity everywhere!
La Bete Seattle  |  Carrie BrownWhen I whittled out all the inSANE, all-inclusive dishes which didn’t have options for SANE substitutions, I was left with 3 or 4 choices, all of which needed some tweaking.  I finally opted for the La Bête Deluxe “Painted Hills” Burger – where “Painted Hills” is a brand of grass-fed beef raised in Oregon.  It’s famous in these parts as one of the local grass-fed beefs of choice.  Yum.
La Bete Seattle  |  Carrie BrownThe options listed for my burger were fries or Caesar salad.  Ding!  That was easy.  The only other hurdle was that wretched bun.  When I asked for it bun-less, our ever-helpful server subbed in some leaves of butter lettuce – favorite! lettuce! ever! – and, um, B-A-C-O-N.  Needless to say, after some initially scary moments wondering if I was going to get fed, a little help from the kitchen resulted in my desired plate of delicious *SANEity.  Despite having been almost lured off the ranch by the dozen other inSANE dishes, I knew that a few moments of oral pleasure would have been regretted for hours, if not days.

It was a thoroughly lovely couple of hours of good food and great conversation.  I even made it out of the Olive Way triangle alive!  And on the same day!!

I thoroughly recommend grabbing some favorite people and sharing a meal.  Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.


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  • Hope - I so love your food adventures. You are such a great encouragement to me with each choice you make! Thanks for continuing to do what you do. xoxReplyCancel

    • carrie - It sure is fun doing them!!! Seeing how SANE you can be when dining out is a great game!ReplyCancel

When I started writing this I was sat in a beautiful apartment at a resort in California, having just downed an awful lot of sautéed mushrooms and several scrambled eggs.  It was delicious.  Prior to my rendezvous with a frying pan and a sharp knife, I was lolling on a sun bed in the warm sunshine and thanking my lucky stars for a week away and a chance to see a different part of the Pacific ocean.  Life is good.

I think it’s important to note that laughing is also good.  So the other week when one of the brilliant moderators over in the SANE and Eccentric Community started a thread entitled, “You know you’ve gone SANE when…” I had a good chuckle over some of the responses and I thought you might like to join in.  It’s good to giggle.


You know you’ve gone SANE when…

…You enjoy a small glass of unflavored unsweetened kefir as a treat!  Rebecca

…The baby carrot you ate at the company potluck tasted like candy.  Tina

…You eat Carrie Brown’s ice cream (in moderation) without a vestige of guilt!  Mike

…Your best friend sends you a cookie recipe to help with your new diet and you immediately recognize there are more carbs from the sugar-free ingredients than a cookie made with sugar (just happened!)  Ali

…You would prefer to snack on sugar snap peas, then potato chips.  Codi

…You can justify getting another fridge or a bigger fridge to hold all that great produce.  Carolyn

…You stop by the grocery on the way to see a movie with your kids so you can grab a bag of sugar snap peas.  Erin

…You spend $300.00 on a reconditioned blender!  Steve

…When you see a runner trotting along (after you yourself have been a lifelong runner) and you think…”Man, you don’t have to be doing all that….”  Steve

…When there are very weird thick green smoothies in your fridge that you have to defend to family members why you drink them.  Nicky

…When your coworker looks at your lunch (tons of veggies, large omelet, 1/4 of an avocado and a small orange for dessert) and asks if you are going to eat all that food. The answer is: yes!!!  Jessica

…When you buy almond flour in bulk.  Bethany

…When your salad bowl holds 3 quarts.  Kyra

…You don’t mind people looking in your cart at the grocery store because you are so proud of your choices.  Carolyn

…When you’re looking everywhere for grass-fed beef.  Steve

…You eat frozen broccoli for breakfast (in a smoothie) Yum.  Jenny

…You feel stuffed full all day – too full to snack – and still lose weight/drop clothes sizes.  Mike

…You pass by a stack of potato chips, tortilla chips, Fritos, etc…..and say to yourself….meh…..would rather feel good like I do now than the temporary taste bud satisfaction!  Laura

…You can pass up any sugar or candy treats because you know tonight you are going to “indulge” in Carrie’s Chocolate Yogurt SupremeKaren

…You to your favorite deli for coffee, and only have coffee!  Leanda

…You start photographing vegetables instead of (or in addition to) sunrises.  Laurie

…You ordered 5 lbs of nuts from :)  Tina


How do you know you’ve gone SANE?



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  • Syrita - When you hand out Christmas cookie recipes to friends and the ingredients include xylitol ( amoung other non traditional cookie ingredients) !! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Josita - …when you eat a green pepper and it reminds you of watermelon.

    …when you can’t go through the day without at least one green smoothie.

    …when someone who sees you eating a big salad for lunch every day at work asks if you aren’t tired of eating salads, and you say no!

    …when you feel better than you have felt in a long time and all you have to do is eat your vegetables, who knew.ReplyCancel


The last 6 months have been entirely too busy over at the Brown House, and, although I’m not entirely sure it’s wise to admit this out loud, some things just had to fall by the wayside.  Knocking it out of the ball park at my day job, writing cookbooks like a crazy woman, re-modeling my kitchen, and recording a CreativeLive Workshop with the adorable Mr. Bailor left little time for things like replying to your emails, folding laundry, responding to your blog comments, keeping things flowing on social media, vacuuming, writing blog posts, website maintenance, and grocery shopping.  And there was absolutely no paperwork getting done.

I’ve felt like I was on one of those snazzy toboggans, hurtling down a steep and slippery slope with no way to stop or slow down and whizzing straight past all manner of good and worthy things without even a moment to glance at them.  If I am brutally honest – which I do like to be – things on the home front all got in a bit of a pickle.  I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to unbury myself and restore some order to the proceedings.  So getting my taxes done the other week felt somewhat similar to the elation I imagine a gold-medal-winning Olympian experiences, since it took me waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than it would have done if I’d churned through a teeny bit of paperwork every month.  Nevertheless, the taxes are done!  Hurrah!

No matter the excitement I am feeling about clawing my way out from my muddle, no matter the joy of feeling my brain get a bit less cluttered every day, I did want to mention that you were some of the good and worthy things that I missed while I was on my crazy, head-first trip down the toboggan run.  I am sorry for being absent.  I am sorry that I’ve missed emails and comments altogether, or am only just responding to some of them now.  I hope you’ll forgive me, because I do love hearing from you even when I can’t respond.  Your mails and comments and little notes of cheer are the best pick-me-ups in the world. As I have trawled through months of email figuring out what needed a response, what needed to be filed, and what could be trashed, I was touched over and over again by your kind and nurturing words, your success stories, your love of what I do, and your expressions of glee at this whole SANE thing.  Going through much of my email backlog was like getting an enormous hug from the Universe.  You’re the BEST!

I also discovered another recurring theme from some of you around recipe data, and since we have a whole crew of new folks join us recently {WELCOME!!!} I thought I’d just cobble together a blog post and get us all on the same page.  I’ve received multiple requests for this information so I figured it was about time I explained myself to one and all.


Recipe Measurements

If you’ve been around my recipes for a while you’ll know that I am a huge proponent of weights instead of volume measures for dry ingredients.  I don’t do this to make life difficult or complicated or more cumbersome for you.  I do this so that you will get consistently great results from your cooking and baking exploits.

Using volume measures for liquids works great – a cup is a cup is a cup.  But when it comes to dry ingredients, a cup is not a cup because the volume changes depending on what the ingredient is and how much it is packed into the cup.  You know how in packages of dry foods there’s always a lot of air in the top?  That’s because dry ingredients settle.  They fill the container with the product but over time, and with movement, the contents take up less space.  So a well-packed cup of almond flour weighs a different amount than a lightly-packed cup of almond flour and that’s when you start having problems – especially when it comes to baked goods where the ratios of ingredients really matters.

Using volume measures for dry ingredients mean you never get consistent results, and I don’t want that for you.  I want these recipes to work for you every single time you make them.  So when it comes to dry ingredients I will always and forever use a kitchen scale to weigh them, and I will never give you cup equivalents of the weights.  I have only your best interests (and taste buds) at heart.

I urge you to avail yourself of a kitchen scale and would highly recommend this one because it is digital, weighs in both ounces and grams and is the one I have used for the past 13 years.  I love how you can pull the display out so that you can use a humongous bowl on the scale and still see the weight.  Plus, being able to weigh directly into your bowl or container, zero the weight out and then weigh the next ingredient straight into the bowl saves on washing up, and that can never be a bad thing.

You have probably noticed, too, that when I started posting recipes I used pounds and ounces for the measurements, because this is America.  Who knew that in very short order we’d have a whole host of friends from all over the planet joining us to get SANE recipes?  Our non-American friends using the metric system of grams and kilograms were understandably confused about why all the recipes were in old-fashioned weights.

When I started my first cookbook, Eat Smarter! Ice Creams, I realized I needed to write all the recipes in both ounces and grams to keep everyone humming along.  Once I had done that I started writing all my new blog recipes in both weights too.  One day – hopefully in the not-too-distant future – I will have a chance to go back and update all the earlier recipes with metric measurements, so no one will have to convert anymore.  YAY!

In the meantime, here’s a handy-dandy site you can use to do any conversions that you need:


Nutritional Information and Serving Sizes for Recipes

There’s a reason I am not very prescriptive about serving sizes, and don’t list the amounts of protein, veggies or other nutrients for each recipe or per serving – actually there are several reasons – and I will never be persuaded to add this data.

  • If I added nutritional information for each recipe the data would only be valid if you made the recipe EXACTLY as I wrote it, using EXACTLY the brands of ingredients that I use, and EXACTLY the quantities that I do, and most of the time that is not what happens.  If I use Trader Joe’s non-fat Greek yogurt and you don’t because you don’t have a TJ’s close by, then right there my data for a recipe containing non-fat Greek yogurt would be inaccurate for what you actually end up consuming.  The chicken breasts I buy might weigh more that yours – immediately my data is useless to you.  I might buy 95% lean ground beef for my lasagna and you might have taken advantage of a sale on the 75% lean ground beef = inaccurate, not to mention misleading, data.  There are just way too many variables for me to give you truly meaningful nutritional information on each recipe.  You may *feel* better having some data to hang your hat on, but what’s the point of data that is not an accurate reflection of your version of my recipe or what you actually end up eating?
  • Adding all that data encourages you to focus on things that we don’t need to focus on – like counting calories or micronutrients.  Our focus should be to simply eat SANE foods.  If you’re eating a variety of SANE foods you don’t need to worry because by default you will be eating only the most nutrient dense foods out there.
  • We all have different appetites.  The amount that is filling for me is not the same as the amount that is filling for you.  We should eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full.  There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to serving sizes.  There’s no point in telling you how much protein or how many veggies are in the serving size that I eat, because that probably won’t be the same size as the serving size that you eat.  Again, my data could be misleading and wildly inaccurate compared to how much you actually eat.  JB and I are not in the business of misleading you.
  • Slim is simple, not complicated.  Adding all this extra data just complicates things that don’t need to be complicated.  Keep it simple.
  • If you read pages 204 – 206 in The Calorie Myth, Jonathan explains how the serving sizes are general guidelines and we should not get mired in details but stay focused on the big picture.  The 10+ servings of non-starchy veggies is intended to keep us focused on non-starchy veggies being the biggest part of what we eat.  I do the best I can to eat an abundance of non-starchy veg and protein but I don’t make myself uncomfortably full, because then meal times would become a battle and food my enemy, and we certainly don’t want that!  Focus on food quality and you won’t go wrong.  We get overweight because of the consumption of the wrong quality of food.
  • Take the principles of SANEity and customize them to fit your lifestyle, where you are now, and your goals.  All that will be different for you than for anyone else, which is why I don’t get so prescriptive on my blog and recipes.
  • Check out Jonathan’s FAQ and I quote:

Can I eat less than noted in the book and still unclog?  Yes. Every time you eat, enjoy the food until you are too full for starches and sweets and then stop. As long as you are eating (in order of volume) non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, berries or citrus, and flax seeds or nuts you will unclog.”

“What do I do if I’m not hungry enough to eat more than two or three times per day?  Only eat when you are hungry. And whenever you eat, stay as SANE as possible.”

  • The 30g protein at each meal is so that you can MAXIMIZE muscle protein synthesis, but nothing bad will happen if you can’t manage 30g at a time.  I tend to eat protein at breakfast and dinner and just do veggies for lunch because I just don’t get that hungry.  I do want to maximize the protein that I do eat, so I do two larger servings of protein twice a day and eat one of my soups for lunch.  Soups mean you can get way more veggies in you than trying to chomp your way through an enormous pile of whole vegetables.  This is what works for me.  I don’t want to face every meal with the trepidation of feeling uncomfortably full afterwards trying to eat an amount of food that my appetite just doesn’t allow for, and I don’t want to face each meal worrying about am I getting enough of this nutrient or that nutrient.  It’s exhausting and, more to the point, it’s unnecessary.  It won’t get you to your goal any faster.
  • Getting stressed over minutiae, micronutrients, and serving sizes will not help us get to where we want to go.

If you still like the comfort of some data though, here are two resources that will help:

  • Nutrition Data – use the food search tool right at the top of the home page to get the nutrition stats on every food:  This can help if you are wondering if a food is SANE or inSANE, especially when it comes to vegetables.
  • Recipe Nutrition Analyzer – you need to sign up (it’s free!), but then you can punch in all the ingredients for a recipe and the tool will spit out the equivalent of a nutrition label for that recipe:


But really what we’d like to tell you most is to focus on non-starchy veggies, good quality protein, fiber, water, whole-food fats, nuts, seeds, and low-fructose fruits.  Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.  That’s it.  Your body will take care of the minutiae.

Relax and enjoy!



What does 'sane' mean? Click here...Want delicious uber-healthy recipes? Check out my Cookbooks!
  • Rose - We have missed you but 3D life must come first! Thanks again for the reminders of priority eating. My struggle is little appetite + figuring out my hypothyroidism = weight gain with little appetite. Today I’ve had organic coffee/organic heavy cream/MCT Oil, organic beef jerky and about 5 paleo macaroons (bought from Julian Bakery, highly recommend them) and wasn’t even hungry for the macaroons (just wanted to eat something in the evening). So eating too much or not enough is truly a challenge for many readers out there.

    Carrie, here’s a thought for your next recipe book… Many paleo/natural eating guides (i.e. “Deep Nutrition” by Dr. Cate Shanahan) recommend organ meats, which are not even *remotely* on the U.S. dietary palette. I recently bought from my local farmer (grass fed beef) tongue and heart. I’ve found tutorials on how to clean and prep these organs for meals and universe willing at some point I can work up the courage… I guess my question is, do you have some ideas on how Americans/Westerners with little to no organ meat prep/cook experience can incorporate these nutritional (and very much affordable) proteins without grossing us out in the process? :-D

    Carrie, you always bring a smile to my face. Thank you again!


  • laurab. - Thank you so much Carrie! I love your common sense, CALM approach! I have too much stress and tension, as it is, to start obsessing over every tiny detail re: exact nutritional analysis. :)ReplyCancel