Tuesday, July 8, 2014

KETO: A LIFE CHANGING DIET (AND RECIPES!)

Ugh, diets. I've never been a fan of diets - eat healthy and exercise and the weight will come off, right? Unfortunately, that has not been the case with me. I'm at risk for an endocrine disorder that may lead to developing insulin resistance and diabetes later in life. That same disorder also makes weight gain easy and weight loss difficult. To avoid having those health issues in the future, I decided to search for a diet that may be more successful with women that might be in the same boat and luckily, I found something life changing. 

Keto, short for ketogenic, is a low carb, medium protein, high fat diet. (Before starting any diet, please consult your doctor, of course.) To make all this technical stuff short and sweet (pun intended), sugar and carbs are essentially the same thing, and I have to eliminate both from my daily life. And when I say low carb, I mean low carb. I'm limited to 20 net carbs a day (net carbs equals to carbs minus fiber). That's what you eat in a yogurt! Medium protein is about the same intake I typically did before, but high fat has been the hardest part to get used to. I barely used to eat butter because I was scared of fat and would always buy low-fat or fat-free products, but did you know those are actually higher in sugar? Oh, and now I can eat all the bacon I want. I guess, it's not all bad.

I started earlier this year and gave it a 30 day try. I haven't felt so well-rested, energized, and healthy in years as I did in those 30 days. And I lost 12+ pounds! Count me as a believer! When I went to South Dakota last month, carbs were a little hard to resist and I got out of the keto game. As of last weekend, I am back in it... For the long run! 

Keeping your net carbs under 20 is extremely difficult when you make the switch. (First off, your body goes through withdrawal, which I thought was a joke. Oh no, it's real and it hurts.) That means I don't eat any wheat, grains, oats, almost all fruits (that's the worst part), and even some vegetables (potatoes, beans, and corn are out too). But that doesn't mean I'm not eating "carby" foods. (I would go crazy.) Thanks to coconut flour, almond meal, cream cheese, and so much more - I can make a lot of substitutes that are just like the real deal!

Sure, I can have eggs and bacon for breakfast, meat and veggies for lunch and dinner, but that just gets boring after a while. Thanks to the good ol' internet, there are so many tasty recipes, and not so tasty that my poor fiancé had to suffer through. With all that trial and error, I'm sharing my favorite keto recipes perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! Also, I tried to make these plates as pretty as I could, but I have butterfingers when it comes to food. I'm surprised they all made it completely on the plate!

Lemon and Blackberry Muffins


I found this recipe on Reddit (a lifesaver for keto recipes), and it's absolutely perfect for breakfast. I wake up super early, so making food at that time is not an option. I can grab it and eat it on the go! Muffins... low carb? Yep! The almond flour is the star of this recipe. I took out the lemon zest from the original recipe (personal preference) and I added blackberries (low carb fruit) for some fun. My next creation will be lemon poppy seed muffins. Yum! You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients: 1 cup almond flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup granulated sweetener, 1/4 stick butter, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and juice of 1 lemon wedge. 

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350°. Add the dry ingredients together, add the wet ingredients together, then add both of those together. Grease the pan and bake for 11 minutes. Makes 4 muffins.

Parmesan Covered Mozzarella Sticks


Since cheese is low carb, I eat it all the time. If I ever want to switch it up a little bit and have them for dinner, I just cover them with grated Parmesan cheese! Even if you didn't want to do a crazy low carb diet, this makes indulging a little more innocent. My cheese sticks pictured below did not have any seasoning like the original recipe since I didn't want to overpower my crispy chicken with buffalo sauce (recipe below), but you can add anything that your heart desires. And that will taste good, of course. I like to mix Italian seasoning with my Parmesan cheese. I also dipped the mozzarella sticks in egg and Parmesan cheese twice versus just the once in the original recipe. The amount of ingredients depend on how many you're marking, just keep adding as you need it! You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients: mozzarella sticks, grated Parmesan cheese, egg, oil (I use coconut oil), and seasoning.

Directions: Preheat pan with hot oil. Add seasoning to grated Parmesan cheese. Cut mozzarella sticks in half. Dip in egg. Roll in Parmesan cheese. Dip in egg again. Roll in Parmesan cheese again. Make sure your oil is HOT. If it's not hot, the mozzarella will just melt without the Parmesan cheese getting crispy. Put cheese sticks in pan, and take out when completely brown. Do not leave them in the pan too long, it will melt everywhere!

Crispy Chicken with Buffalo Sauce


First off, Cooking Is Pun is one of the funniest and sweetest bloggers ever. And she makes delicious food! She's got videos and photos for all her recipes and they're super easy to recreate. She's knowledgable and always answer all my questions on Twitter. (Thanks, Kelsey!) For this recipe, instead of doing chicken bites, I used chicken wings. I've made the bites before and they come out just as amazing (and easier to make), but I was just really in the mood for wings that night. I'm pretty bad at knowing how much I need of ingredients, so I just eyeball how much flour I need and add if necessary. You can find the original recipe here (with the appropriate amount of ingredients), but if you're doing wings, you can find the baking directions here.

Ingredients: chicken wings, coconut flour, 1 egg, almond meal, coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of water, 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of hot sauce, and salt and pepper.

Directions: Preheat your oven to 425°. Separate your almond meal, egg, and coconut flour into three different bowls. Add water to the egg and beat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the coconut flour, egg mixture, and then the almond meal. Brush melted coconut oil on wings. Place onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip chicken and bake for another 15 minutes. While the chicken is baking, place butter into a saucepan on low to melt. Once melted, add hot sauce. Mix often so it does not separate. Drizzle sauce on wings or you can toss the wings into a bowl with the hot sauce.

Almond Butter Cookies


I did a twist of Paula Deen's cookies and replaced peanut butter with almond butter. Less carbs! These are so not pretty, but are very delicious. You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients: 1 egg, 1 1/4 cup of sugar substitute (I used Stevia), 1 cup of almond butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together. Grease baking pan. Place spoonfuls about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool before removing from pan. Dust cookies with remaining sugar substitute.

If you're trying keto, let me know and we can do it together!

Jess

6 comments:

  1. Very cool. Do the cheese sticks have any crunch?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not as much as traditional cheese sticks, but I think they do a pretty good job. I might try them with coconut flour and see if they come out crunchier.

      Delete
  2. Is that really supposed to be 1 and 1/4 cup of stevia in the almond cookies?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! 1 cup goes into the cookie dough, the rest is for garnishing.

      Delete

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