I'm sure you've heard some buzz about the KETO diet. Many of the Paleo experts also have advice on KETO. So what is KETO?
Here are the main components:
restricted diet with very low carbs (originally designed for epilepsy patients in the 1920's)
restricting carbs (sugar and starch) lowers glucose levels and the body starts to burn fat for energy and produces ketones
less overall protein (no processed meats, unless they are very clean)
emphasis on high quality fats (avocado, salmon, coconut oil)
What are the benefits:
reduced risk of diabetes
reduced risk of heart disease
reduced risk of cancer
fights brain and neurological disorders
First let's look at some KETO snacks. With ultra-low carb (25% of your daily intake) here are some ideas:
Coconut butter has its own sweetness. You'll love this quick snack.
1 cup coconut oil (or 1/2 cup coconut oil & 1/2 cup coconut butter)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Using a hand mixer, mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Spoon into muffin cups/muffin tin and freeze for an hour.
Sprinkle with extra coconut flakes if desired
CHEDDAR CHIPS WITH GUAC
You don't have to forgo nachos! All you need to do is change up the chip.
Shredded cheddar cheese
Cheddar chips don’t stay crispy long, so make them right before serving the guacamole.
Guacamole usually taste bests chilled so either refrigerate the avocados for an hour or two before making the guacamole or press plastic wrap against the surface of the made guacamole to protect it from air (which turns it brown), and chill for several hours before serving.
Preheat oven to 400º F/205º C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat.
Drop heaping tablespoons of grated cheddar onto the baking sheet. Space the mounds a few inches apart. You should get approximately 16 mounds. Spread the cheddar mounds out into circles about 2 inches/5 cm wide.
Bake 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Let the cheese set for a minute until it starts to solidify, then lift the Cheddar rounds off the baking sheet with a spatula. The cheese will quickly cool into “chips.” The Cheddar chips will not be perfectly round; if you want them to be, then use kitchen shears to trim the edges.
Prep all the guacamole ingredients and have them ready so the guacamole can be mixed together immediately after the avocados are cut.
Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Use a knife to cut the flesh into small cubes. Scoop the cubed flesh out with a spoon into a medium
KETO CHEESE MEATBALLS
I know, these recipes sound a little crazy, but they are soooo good.
1 lb Ground Grass-fed Beef)
3 oz Cheese Mozzarella Works Best, But Cheddar Is Fine
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Cut the cheese into cubes (1cm by 1cm)
Mix the dry ingredients with the ground beef
Wrap the cubes of cheese in ground
Pan fry the meatballs. Cover with a lid to capture the heat all around.
KETO GRILLED CHEESE
I do miss grilled cheese. Here is a great grain-free version. You can do anything with cauliflower.
1 medium head of cauliflower (raw), cut into small florets and stem removed
1 large egg
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
2 thick slices of white cheddar cheese (you can also use shredded cheddar cheese)
Preheat oven to 450F. Place cauliflower into food processor and pulse until crumbs about half the size of a grain of rice.
Place cauliflower into large microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Your cauliflower should be soft and tender (and hot!). (If you don't want to use the microwave to dry out the cauliflower and prefer to steam and wring with a cloth to dry, check out my wringing instructions here.)
Stir cauliflower to mix up the bottom and top cauliflower. Place back into the microwave and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove and stir again so that all the cauliflower cooks evenly. Place back into microwave and cook for 5 minutes. At this point, you should see the cauliflower is starting to become drier. Microwave for another 5 minutes. Cauliflower should still be slightly moist to the touch but should look dry and clumped up (like photo above; similar to as if someone had chewed it up and spit it back out.) If you've made cauliflower pizza or breadsticks with the cloth wringing dry method, it should look the same.
Allow cauliflower to cool for a few minutes. Then add in egg and cheese. Stir to combine until smooth paste forms. Stir in seasoning. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Place onto large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your knuckles and fingers, shape into square bread slices about 1/3 inch thick. Bake cauliflower bread for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.
Using a good spatula, carefully slide cauliflower bread off of parchment paper. Now you are ready to assemble your sandwiches. You can do this a few different ways. You can either cook on the stove top as you would normally cook a grilled cheese. You can also place sandwiches into toaster oven and broil for several minutes (5-10) until cheese is completely melted and bread is toasty. If you don't own a toaster oven, you can also do this in the oven.
LEMON TAHINI CHICKEN
Try this one for a unique taste.
2 lb boneless chicken thighs
Sea salt and pepper
Steamed spaghetti squash, broccoli, zucchini noodles etc., for serving
4 medium tomatoes
1 handful parsley
1 handful basil or cilantro
Pinch of salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Place the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, minced garlic, chicken in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and mix well to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator (optional).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the chicken on the cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Place the tomatoes, herbs, lemon and salt and pepper in the food processor and pulse until well combined, set aside.
When the chicken is done turn the oven to broil for 2 or 3 minutes to make it golden brown. Place the chicken on top of your favorite steamed vegetable and top with herb salsa. Serve and enjoy.
MARKS BIG ASS KETO SALAD
Salad combinations are endless. Check your shopping list below for all of the options.
Lettuce (I prefer a mix of romaine and dark leafy greens.)
Shaved Emmental Cheese
MINI SMOKED SALMON ROLLS
Easy peesy! Get those Omega-3's.
8 ounces smoked salmon, shredded into small pieces (230 g)
1 Thai chile pepper or other hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger (5 ml)
1 small garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (10 ml)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (10 ml)
2 tablespoons Primal Kitchen Mayo (30 ml)
Seaweed Snacks, or Nori cut into 4 squares
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Avocado, cut into thin wedges
Black sesame seeds, for garnish
Whisk together chile pepper, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar and mayo.
Mix in the salmon.
Spoon about a tablespoon of salmon onto a small square of dried seaweed. Add a strip of cucumber and avocado. Fold the seaweed around the salmon so it’s in the shape of an ice-cream cone. Garnish with black sesame seeds.
SHRIMP PAD THAI
Use a red cabbage to make this beautiful dish.
1 small purple cabbage, thinly shredded
2 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 egg, whisked
12 to 16 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Optional: fresh mint and cilantro for garnish
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage and bean sprouts. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk fish sauce, coconut aminos, maple syrup, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat avocado oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and shallot. Sauté for two minutes.
Push the garlic, ginger and shallot to the side and pour the egg into the skillet. Stir just until the egg begins to set (about 30 seconds). Add shrimp, continuing to stir and break up the egg, until the shrimp are just turning pink (about 3 minutes).
Pour the fish sauce mixture into the skillet. Rapidly simmer 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Pour everything in the skillet over the cabbage and bean sprouts. Toss well and serve. Add fresh herbs if desired.
LEMON AND SAGE CHICKEN IN CREAM
Oh sage! Sage and poultry is a great combination. You'll love that flavor in this cream sauce.
6 to 8 bone-in chicken thighs, seasoned generously with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon PRIMAL KITCHEN® avocado oil or red palm oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic, skin left on
1 cinnamon stick
10 fresh sage leaves
Zest from one lemon (see note below)
2 cups whole cream (1 pint)
Preheat oven to 375º F/190º C.
Recipe Note: For this recipe, strips of lemon zest are better than grated zest. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove the yellow peel from most of the lemon, being careful to leave the white pith behind. Use a knife to cut the pieces of peel into thin strips.
In an ovenproof skillet that will fit all the chicken, heat the avocado oil/red palm oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down. When the chicken is nicely browned, flip it over. Carefully tilt the skillet and pour some of the oil out, leaving only a thin layer.
Add the butter, garlic, cinnamon stick, sage leaves and lemon zest. Right when the butter just begins to turn brown, pour in the cream. Bring the cream to a gentle boil and then put the skillet in the oven.
Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until the chicken is done, and the sauce is bubbly and thickened.
If needed, add a little salt to the sauce before eating. (The garlic cloves can be easily slipped out of their skins while you eat.)
What are KETO foods? Here is a list of low carb veggies, proteins, baking goods,
KETO SHOPPING LIST
Romaine or red/green lettuces
Cabbage (red and green)
Mushrooms (all varieties)
Bivalves (oysters, mussels, clams, scallops)
Chicken thighs, legs, wings
Lamb (chops, steaks, ground)
Ground beef (prioritize grass-fed, higher fat varieties)
Marbled steaks and roasts (e.g. ribeye steak; prioritize grass-fed)
Marbled roasts (e.g. chuck roast, bottom round roast; prioritize grass-fed)
Organ meats (prioritize pastured and organic)
Cured Meats (nitrate-free and sugar-free)
Pasture-raised chicken eggs
Packaged and Bulk Items:
Coconut manna (a.k.a. coconut butter)
Cashew or almond butter (choose no-sugar, natural varieties)
Nut bars with very low carb count and no artificial sweeteners or soy
Fermented foods (preferably refrigerated) like sauerkraut
Healthy Fats and Oils:
Butter (preferably pastured and organic)
Lard (preferably pastured and organic)
Tallow (preferably pastured and organic)
Red palm oil (from sustainable sources)
Extra virgin avocado
Mayo made with avocado oil
Dressings made with avocado oil
Extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed and dark bottled varieties)
Macadamia nut oil
Herbs and Spices:
Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
Cooking Baking Supplies:
Shredded and/or shaved coconut
Monk fruit extract
85-100% dark chocolate
Unsweetened nut milks (e.g. cashew milk, almond milk)
Unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
Low sugar kombucha/kvass
Full-fat milk (prioritize grass-fed, organic)
You can also find a shopping list at http://robbwolf.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Wired-to-Eat-Shopping-Lists.pdf and https://draxe.com/hub/keto-diet/ketogenic-diet-food-list/
The most important thing with your diet is to the find the foods that make you feel great. There is no one set diet that works for everyone. Your best bet is to stick with real, whole foods (shop the perimeter of the store). The combination of those foods is up to you. KETO is one approach that makes some people feel their best, so if you find that limiting some carbs works for you, that's great. These recipes will be a good introduction for you. If you'd like to find out more information about the KETO diet Google these folks:
Low Carb Yum
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!