KetoLife: With Keto, Thou Shalt Cook

It’s maybe sad, but it’s true— if you go keto/low-carb, you have got to know how to cook. At least, you need to know some simple basic low-carb recipes and cooking skills.

Sometimes YouTube can help with this— there are a number of different videos showing how to make ‘Diet Revolution Rolls,’ a kind of bread-substitute made from separated eggs which is a recipe in the original Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution book (1972). I learned that I had to beat the egg whites longer than I had been doing. From a non-video online source, I also learned what a good idea it is to bake such rolls in a muffin top pan or Yorkshire pudding pan. (I currently have 6 such pans of different types.)

But it’s also a good idea to have a supply of good low-carb recipe books. I have all the Atkins books and cookbooks, most of the Dana Carpender cookbooks, and a couple books with recipes by Maria Emmerich (both from books co-written with Jimmy Moore.) I like to look through my many recipe books and find ones to try, even though I’m not normally a girl that’s big on cooking or trying recipes. I do like to eat, though.

Here is a big secret about cooking for those non-cooks out there: when you find a recipe you like, as you make it multiple times it gets simpler to do. My mom used to make a great (but high-carb, alas) tuna casserole. She got so good at making it she could throw it together about as easily as she could put a frozen dinner in the oven. So, here are some recipes that I have tried that might be worth doing again.

CREAMY SCRAMBLED EGGS

Recipe Book: 200 Low-Carb High-Fat Recipes, Dana Carpender, (2015.)

Dana is kind of famous for giving explicit directions for how to make omelets in every cookbook of hers. I’ve done them, but this is simpler and better, at least when I do it. After trying it the way Dana says to do it, I’ve also tried mixing the cream into the eggs directly when I prepare the eggs, Either way works, and the eggs are delicious. Of course, I’m lucky enough to get eggs that come from my own laying flock, but store-bought eggs also work well when the hens are being unproductive.

GEORGE HOLLENBECK’S HAMBURGER STROGANOFF

Recipe Book: 500 More Low-Carb Recipes, Dana Carpender, (2004.)

I was looking for some recipes that I could make and freeze, so I’d have some low-carb meals I could just heat up in the oven. This is one recipe I tried. It’s quite good. I would suggest ignoring the instruction to use ‘lean’ ground beef— it’s an old cook book, relatively speaking. The recipe suggests serving it over ‘spaghetti squash’ which kind of adds to the carb count. I serve mine over heated frozen veggies, usually green beans. I thaw the frozen stroganoff overnight and heat it in a mini loaf pan in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. I heat the frozen veggies for about 15 minutes in a disposable mini pie pan which I get from Amazon. For serving I pour the stroganoff on top of the veggies. I found that dividing the stroganoff into 6 servings was not enough for me. The second time I made it I divided into 4 servings, which is more satisfying. I might also add a small can of mushrooms to the next batch.

HAMBURGER CURRY

Recipe Book: 500 More Low-Carb Recipes, Dana Carpender, (2004.)

This recipe calls for making cauli-rice to serve it over, but I omitted that step and just serve it over whatever veggies I have. It’s very good and a nice change of pace. The recipe calls for 16 ounces (two small cans) of tomato sauce. Be sure and read your sauce labels in the store— some have sugar added and some don’t. We want the kind without added sugar. Since the tomato sauce adds carbs, you might try cutting the amount in half and see if that agrees better with you. I’ve also considered making it with one can of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies (10 ounces) just to see how that would turn out.

I froze the individual servings in 1 pint, wide-mouth Ball canning jars. I take out a jar the evening before I plan to eat it, and stow it in the fridge. I heat it in the mini loaf pan in the oven at 350 F for 30 minutes, and heat the veggies as mentioned in the recipe above. I haven’t done it with cauli-rice yet, but do have some frozen that I could take out of the freezer next time I heat some curry.

More Recipe Notes to Come:

I see this blog post is getting a bit long, so I will write about some other recipes I’ve tried recently with special notes for freezing and re-heating, including Salisbury Steak and Asian Meatballs. I hope that this post will inspire some other ketonians to get in the kitchen and start cooking! (Order the cookbooks from Amazon— Since the recipes do not belong to me I’m not going to steal them for this blog.)

Have you had any success stories in learning keto cooking skills? What helped you?

 

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KetoLife: Dr. Atkins’ Fat Fast Diet

You may have heard the term ‘fat fasting.’ Maybe you think it’s a kind of fasting. Maybe you think it is fasting from fat, as the low-fat diet advocates seem to want. But the truth is, Fat Fasting is a kind of temporary diet, used by Dr. Robert Atkins with his patients who had hit a weight-loss plateau. That is, they were continuing to do low-carb but the weight loss they were expecting had stopped.

‘Fat Fasting’ is not fasting at all. It is a kind of low-carb and low-calorie diet, based on some scientific research, that helps some low-carbers. It usually calls for 4-5 mini-meals a day, which have to be composed of certain percentages of the macronutrients. Dr. Atkins might have had people eating 4 to 5 handfuls of macadamia nuts on a Fat Fasting diet day.

Dana Carpender, author of many low-carb cookbooks, has two cookbooks out especially for the Fat Fasting diet. These recipes open up the Fat Fasting diet, and give you a lot of choices for your mini-meals. You still can’t do the Fat Fasting diet for too long at a time— it’s meant to be temporary. (That’s why we can call it a ‘diet’— it’s not our lifestyle!) Get her Fat Fasting books to learn more about Fat Fasting.

Many modern Ketonians don’t use the Fat Fasting diet, but use actual fasting to deal with weight-loss plateaus. Dr. Jason Fung has some books out, including The Complete Guide to Fasting, which can help you learn more about how to use real fasting safely and effectively.

But sometimes the Fat Fasting diet may be what you want to do. Maybe you are having a hard time getting into deep ketosis, or staying there. Maybe you just have a hard time not eating anything at all— or you live with loved ones who will get frantic if you skip even one meal, no matter how heavy you are.

I have tried the Fat Fasting diet a few times, before I got Dr. Jason Fung’s book on real fasting, and it worked, though I’m lazy enough to like the break from actual cooking you get while you are real-fasting. I also use a few recipes from the two Fat Fasting books in my regular low-carb life. A few I adapt— the two mac-and-cheese recipes call for shirataki noodles, which I dislike, so I use a good serving of green beans or perhaps canned bean sprouts as a substitute for the noodles.

The advantage of the Fat Fasting recipes is that most are single-serving recipes— which is grand if you are cooking low-carb for one and don’t fancy eating the same meal again and again. And the recipes are high in percentages of fat, which is good if some of your regular low-carb foods are also too low in fat. (Remember, fat in your food is what makes you not-hungry!)

KetoLife: You Need to Cook

One unpleasant fact of Keto living is that you need to do home-cooking. You can’t just go out for Keto food! Restaurants, especially fast-food ones, are notorious carb-pushers. Your burgers come with buns, and urgings to order fries and a sugary soft drink. Kentucky Fried no longer has the low carb roasted chicken, but the new menu looks to be rich in carbs, as well as requiring a biscuit. I think they made you pay for the biscuit whether you actually get the biscuit or not.

We have a societal inhibition about home cooking. Men don’t want to do it because it’s traditionally women’s work. Women don’t want to do it because we are brought up thinking we have to be good feminists and doing women’s work instead of delegating it to a man is bad feminism. But we have to man up (or woman up) and realize that eating the product of food processors every day is too bad for us to be sustainable. Do we want to be fat, diabetic and/or have Alzheimer’s disease?

To learn Keto (low-carb) cooking you need to have keto recipe books. Yes, actual books. Preferably NOT on Kindle, as you don’t want to spill low-carb gravy on your Kindle. Not every ‘low-carb’ cook book is good. I have one I bought on sale years ago that has not one recipe that is actually low-carb. It’s more of a ‘moderate carb’ approach.

The best book to start with is not a recipe book at all, but Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, which has recipes in the back. The advantage to this old book is that it came along before there were any low-carb specialty food in the stores. The problem with low-carb specialty foods is that the companies that make them go out of business whenever low-carb popularity dips, and so you are stuck finding substitutes for ‘Carb Countdown dairy beverage’ in your recipes.

Dr. Atkins’ first book came out before any of that (1972) and his patients had to get regular food ingredients from regular grocery stores. And the advantages of the recipes in that first book is that they are well known in the low-carb community. The trickiest recipe in the book is the Diet Revolution Rolls a bread substitute, which require separating eggs and whipping the egg whites. There are actual YouTube videos that show how to make Diet Revolution Rolls!

YouTube videos are actually a great way to improve your cooking/baking skills. You can also Google (or DuckDuckGo) any cut of meat you want to cook and get instructions. Don’t know how to make pork chops or a ribeye steak? Google! (Duck!) You can learn no matter how hopeless you are. And if you have no internet access, try your local library. My small-town library has internet connected computers you can use for free for a  hour.

Dr. Atkins also has a lot of recipe books out. The two I use most are the two earliest, Dr. Atkins Diet Cookbook (1974) and Dr. Atkins New Diet Cookbook (1994). The first contains a very simple recipe for ‘cream sauce’ (like white sauce) and ‘mushroom sauce’ (can sub for cream-of-mushroom soups). Later Atkins books often have recipes which call on ingredients that are specialty products from Atkins corporation that are no longer available.

When you are ready to go beyond Dr. Atkins approved recipes, we have two cookbook authors that are dedicated to low-carb/keto: Dana Carpender and Maria Emmerich. Both have co-written cookbooks with low-carb health podcaster Jimmy Moore, both have a number of cook books available. Look on Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller and pick one that sounds good.

A final note: how many recipes do you, personally, need? My aunt Pat who loves to try new recipes all the time would need a lot. My mother tends to stick with a smaller number of ‘tried-and-true’ recipes. I myself prefer to be in a rut, making the same few meals most of the time. How many good keto recipes do you need? Don’t settle for the first few you try if you only eat them because they are ‘diet’ food and you are on a ‘diet.’ Keto/low-carb food should taste great! Try new recipes until you find ones you like.

Keto Living: Dana Carpender’s new Fat Fast Cookbook

Dana Carpender the Low-Carb/Keto cookbook author had come out with her second Fat Fast cookbook and so of course I ordered a copy. I loved her other Fat Fast cookbook.

What is a fat fast? It’s not a real fast as taught by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung in the Complete Guide to Fasting. Fat fasting is a temporary restricted diet designed by Dr. Robert Atkins, author of The Atkins Diet Revolution. The Fat Fast was designed for patients who were already on Atkins’ diet at the strict Induction level and who had stopped losing weight when they still had weight to lose. The Fat Fast was, like the Atkins diet itself, based on scientific research. It is a restricted calorie diet, unlike most low carb dieting, and featured food rich in (healthy) fats. It has been shown that people lose more weight eating more fat than eating carbs or protein.

Under Atkins there were about 3 or 4 food items you could eat on a fat fast, but when Dana Carpender tried the fat fast she started created recipes that fit the nutritional profile of fat fast foods.

In this new cookbook there are many new recipes. One problem I have with this book is many recipes have as a main ingredient Shirataki noodles. These noodles are a great low carb noodle substitute but they taste weird compared to real, carb-filled noodles. Also, they are hard to get. My local grocery doesn’t carry them so I have to go into town to get them. They also are hard to store. They can’t be frozen but must be refrigerated. In my fridge it is cold enough on the shelf I stored Shirataki on that a package was frozen and destroyed.

But on the good side there were other recipes that I do want to try. There is a recipe for low-carb chocolate milk based on full-fat coconut milk. I haven’t tried the coconut milk version but have tried one in which I replaced the coconut milk with heavy whipping cream.

There is also a recipe for Vichyssoise which uses cauliflower instead of potato. I’m going to try that recipe as soon as I can get to a grocery store that sells leeks— recipe also calls for one leek.

Now, I myself am not really planning to do a lot of fat fasting anytime soon. I do daily intermittent fasting in the overnight to morning period. But the fat fast recipes can also be a part of any LCHF ketogenic diet, which is what I eat (or should be eating) during my eating hours.

I think the best way to stick to a ketogenic diet is to have a lot of recipe books for ketogenic diets on hand. You don’t need to do lots of exotic recipes every day. Just find a few recipes you really like, and make them regularly. I personally stockpile ingredients for some of my favorite recipes so I can make them without a special trip to the store. This is important during the winter where I live, since during snowstorms we can’t always make trips to the store.


Saturday is the day of the week I cover healthy/ketogenic diet issues as well as intermittent fasting. Usually. If you want to know more about ketogenic diet and fasting, I recommend the podcasts of Jimmy Moore. He often has Doctors on his podcasts, and discusses the scientific research that backs up approaches like ketogenic diets or fasting. I listen to his podcasts on most days, it helps me keep on track.

Jimmy Moore’s Fasting Talk Podcast.

Jimmy Moore’s Other Podcasts.

How to detox after a carb-eating binge

atkins-diet-revolution-1972One of the things most people don’t know when they start a ketogenic or low-carb diet is that you have to STAY on it. The diet changes over your metabolism so you are burning fat rather than glucose. When you overindulge in foods not on your diet— even when quantities are small— it has a big effect.

Why? Because you have changed your metabolism back, and you will have carb-cravings until you change it back. You will start experiencing hunger. After being on keto and never feeling hunger, that will be hard. And you will have a bunch of symptoms because of your indulgence— a carb-eating hangover.

I ate carbs for some days because of my niece’s wedding (and other stresses), and now it’s time for me to detox. I looked up some info on how to do it, and here is my plan. I hope it will help others.

  • Drink lots of water. If your tap water tastes bad and filters don’t help, try drinking cups of plain hot tea. I mean real tea, like Lipton, not tea with flavorings, herb ‘tea’, pre-sugared tea mix. Black, green and white tea are OK. My favorite is Prince of Peace brand pu-erh tea.
  • DON’T drink juices or fruit smoothies. These items are full of ‘natural’ sugars, and they are just as bad for you as eating white sugar out of the bag.
  • Go back to an Induction level low-carb plan as in the Atkins diet books, where you cannot have fruit, nuts, nut flours or other more carby foods.
  • Don’t eat all the veggies allowed on Atkins Induction while you are detoxing. Pick veggies like spinach or broccoli, raw or cooked plain. I’m planning to use wild greens like dandelions for my greens allowance.
  • Eat enough fat. Perhaps try some of the recipes in Dana Carpender’s Fat Fast cookbook— but don’t limit your portions as in the Fat Fast (temporary) diet. You have to get back on your regular keto first.
  • Expect to feel bad, or to have food cravings.
  • Don’t exercise if you are feeling symptoms, or do mild exercise like taking a walk.
  • A lot of things I have read say not to feel guilty over your carb binge. I disagree. If you KNOW keto works for you and is healthy for you, and you have an unplanned carb binge anyway, you made a mistake and you hurt your health and you should have a little guilt in there because of it. A little guilt can keep us from making the same mistakes over again.
  • Make plans to avoid future carb binges— perhaps bringing some foods with you when you travel. Now, you CAN plan to eat some carb food you used to love on certain special occasions, but you have to have a plan or it will turn into a week-long or month-long carb binge.

In conclusion— while a carb binge can be bad, all you have to do is get busy detoxing and you will recover. Your keto diet is not doomed by your carb binge. Hey, if I can (mostly) stick to it, anyone can.

Recipe: Nut-Flax Hot Cereal – Low-Carb, Keto

It’s the new year, and a lot of people have started new diet plans. But too many dieters haven’t discovered the low-carb and ketogenic diets, which actually have loads of scientific backing. Plus, these diets are good for our brains. Writers need healthy brains.

Here is a breakfast recipe that is easy to prepare, even in the morning.

Nut-Flax Hot Cereal

This is a cereal that you can assemble ahead of time. Start out by getting 3 to 6 containers. You can use disposable plastic storage bags. Or you can buy a dozen Ball brand 1/2 cup jelly jars. If you can’t find the 1/2 cup (they are not easy to find, buy online) you can use 1/2 pint jars (1 cup). Or you can use small plastic containers.

In each container, put:

1 1/2 T(ablespoon) ground nuts (nut meal), pecan, walnut or almond

1 1/2 T shredded coconut meat, UNSWEETENED!!! (They carry it at my local Walmart)

1 T (or 1/2 T) ground flaxseed meal.

1/2 T chia seed (optional)

1/4 t(easpoon) sea salt

Put the lid on your containers and put away in a kitchen cabinet.

To make a serving of cereal, get out a suitable small cereal bowl, and empty the contents of one container into it. ADD one thin pat of butter.

Put on your teakettle and get some boiling water. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the boiling water to your cereal bowl. Make sure that the pat of butter gets hit by the hot water. Let the cereal sit 1-2 minutes. Add 1-2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream. If you want a sweet taste in  your cereal, add a bit of liquid or powdered stevia sweetener. If you buy English Toffee flavored liquid stevia, it gives the cereal a bit of brown sugar flavor. Add a pinch of cinnamon to it for a real taste treat.

The flaxseed meal is very good for you— but it does add a slippery texture to the cereal. Which is why you can cut the amount to 1/2 T. Or less, if you have a low-carb eater in the family that is fussy about this. But I’ve learned to put up with the weird texture of the full 1 T amount, and I like it just fine that way.

This recipe is based on Dana Carpender’s Hot “Cereal” recipe in her Fat Fast Cookbook. I’ve just added some butter and chia seeds and the make-ahead concept. Which is a natural since it is just as easy to prepare 6 servings as it is the single serving in the original recipe.

The one hard thing about the low-carb and/or ketogenic lifestyle is that it requires a lot of cooking, which leads to a lot of dishwashing. Which is something I can’t always face in the morning. So I make cereal ahead of time, and then I always have some acceptable food that I can prepare with very little effort.


Low-Carb & Ketogenic diets are DIFFERENT

Low-fat and calorie counting diets are temporary diets
Low-carb and ketogenic diets are ones you follow for life

In low-fat and calorie counting diets, feeling hungry is GOOD.
In low-carb and ketogenic diets, feeling hungry means you need to EAT some low-carb/ketogenic foods

In low-fat and calorie counting diets, you eat whole grain toast without butter.
In low-carb and ketogenic diets, you eat the butter but not the toast.

In low-fat and calorie counting diets you are urged to eat a lot of sugar-filled fruits.
In low-carb and ketogenic diets, fruit is something you avoid. You eat non-starch veggies instead.

In low-fat and calorie counting diets the goal is to cut down on what you eat.
In low-carb and ketogenic diets, the goal is to change over your metabolism to one that runs by burning fat.



 

Coconut_Bev_UnsweetenedIf you wish to avoid dairy and don’t like canned coconut milk, So Delicious Coconut Milk  beverage is a tasty substitute. The green carton is the unsweetened one.

Low-Carb Recipe: Cloud Bread/Diet Revolution Roll

cloud bread 3

Cloud bread baked in muffin top pan.

Haven’t done any low-carb lifestyle posts in a while. Very neglectful of me. So here’s what I’ve been making recently.

In the original Atkins diet book published in 1972, there is a recipe called ‘Diet Revolution Rolls’ consisting of separated eggs, cottage cheese and  a pince of cream of tartar, total carbs 3.1 for the whole batch of six rolls.I tried a couple of times but it never turned out well until I bought a muffin top pan. Since I don’t have a working full-size oven, I use a convection oven and so had to buy a four muffin-top size pan to fit.

This improved the rolls quite a bit, but since I put the full batter in the four slots I guess it came out a little thick.

So I Googled. And I found a recipe for ‘Carb Free Cloud Bread’ http://www.food.com/recipe/carb-free-cloud-bread-411501.  It has the SAME ingredients but there are some differences in how you make it. First, that you make 10 ‘rolls’/bread pieces instead of the 6 of the Diet Revolution Bread recipe.  Second, that you cool the bread pieces, put them in a large baggie or some Tupperware, and refrigerate overnight to make it more ‘bready’

So I tried it myself and am working to refine my own version of the recipe. Here’s the preliminary version:

Basic Cloud Bread

 

Cloud bread in my muffin top pan

Cloud bread in my muffin top pan

3 eggs, separated

3 Tablespoons cottage cheese or cream cheese, made from WHOLE milk, not low-fat or fat-free.

1/4 cream of tartar

1 packet (2 teaspoon equivalent) stevia sweetner, WITHOUT maltodextrin (read labels— Truvia and Walmart store brand are OK so far, Family Dollar store brand has the maltodextrin.)

Oven: 300 degrees.

Separate the eggs into 2 bowls. Not one speck of yolk can get into the white. If you are new to separating eggs, have a third bowl to separate the egg whites in to. That way you only ruin one egg white if you get yolk in. Set the egg white bowl with the 3 whites aside.

Add the cottage cheese or cream cheese to the yolks, and the stevia packet. Use a mixer or a hand blender to mix well. (You will either have to wash the blades well, or else use a hand blender for this step and a mixer for the next.

Now, set the yolk mixture aside and get out the egg whites. Add the cream of tartar. Then, beat the eggs with a mixer for a LONG time. Set your timer to 5 minutes. You want the egg whites to form fluffy white peaks.

Mix the yolk mixture very carefully into the whites. Stir just enough to mix well.

Now, prepare your muffin top pans. You must have enough pans for your ten bread pieces. If you don’t have enough muffin top pans, use a plain cookie sheet for the rest of the slices. Spray the pans with non-stick cooking spray (I prefer olive-oil based sprays).

Use a soup spoon or other larger spoon to spoon out the mixture into the pans. Do it one spoonful into each slot and then start over to add the second spoonful. Try to distribute it evenly. Using your spoon, smooth the mixture so that each one is an even round the diameter of a hamburger bun (this is where the muffin top pan makes it easy.)

Bake in a preheated 300 degree Fahrenheit over for about 30 minutes. The time can vary— check near the end of the 30 minutes. Breads should be the color of a store bought hamburger’s bun.

Put the bread pans somewhere safe to cool. You can take them off the pan if you like. When the breads are wholly cool, put them in an airtight plastic bag or plastic container.

Use 2 of the breads to make sandwiches of all sorts, use them as buns for hamburgers or hot dogs. You can even buy take-out burgers and switch the nasty, sweet buns that they come with for these breads.

Carb count (cottage cheese version)

Whole batch: 3.1

Each bread piece: .31

Variations:

Add things like a bit of minced onion, sauted, or some caraway seeds or poppy seeds.

cloud bread 2

Cloud bread on an ordinary cookie sheet. (Excuse the foil lining, it’s a bad idea unless your cookie sheet is old and nasty, like mine.)

Cloud bread is good for low carb lifestyles and is also gluten-free. It’s not quite kosher on Paleo, unless you decide to do a ‘modified Paleo’ which allows dairy and sets severe limits on the fruits (because of the carbs).

It is a good daily bread. If you have children, don’t buy ordinary bread for them even if you are compelled to feed them too many carbs in other parts of their daily diet. Get them used to low-carb daily bread and other staple foods of the low-carb lifestyle.

For Ketogenic diets: this is low-carb enough, but only 4% fat. If you are on the ‘fat-fast’ diet for the moment, you’ll probably end up with only one of the breads to make room for the higher fat items that you’ll want to eat with it. The fat-fast diet is a temporary, very restricted diet for people on a strict low-carb lifestyle (such as Atkins Induction or Bernstein’s Diabetes Diet) who have not been losing weight on it. For more info, read Dana Carpender’s Fat Fast Cookbook. http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Fast-Cookbook-Recipes-Weight/dp/0970493126