Breaded Pork Chops the LCHF way

A staple meal in my mother’s kitchen when I was growing up was breaded boneless pork chops and boiled potatoes. And it wasn’t happening just in my mother’s kitchen –  early Sunday afternoon you could hear the reverberation of the meat mallets pounding the pork chops in perfect unison. It was like in a Swiss clock – at 12PM – all the women took to their kitchens to cook breaded pork chops for their families.

Part of me really misses this tradition, part of me really misses the taste of the grease from the bottom of the pan drizzled all over my boiled potatoes. It was so simple, yet so satisfying that we would fight for the drippings from the pan and if there were any extra chops left, you know they would not last long and would never make it into the fridge for later consumption. Somebody would always sneak into the kitchen to grab the last one when everybody else retired to their respective bedrooms.

Today, I won’t even come close to breadcrumbs – I tried in the past, only to get really disappointed by the amount of grease that bread crumbs can absorb. And as you probably gathered by now, bread and flour does not belong in my WOE these days. In fact I haven’t had bread in years. But does it mean that I can never again have my childhood favorite meal?

Well, you know I found a way to have my Breaded Pork Chops and eat them too. Only my Pork Chops do not include heavy coatings of bread crumbs and flour – they are light as a feather 🙂

Pork is said to be the other white meat, especially pork tenderloin. This cut is pretty lean, so I didn’t mind using quite a bit of butter to fry my chops. The butter added some very needed flavour and moisture to my chops.

 

To tenderize the pork chops I used a simple meat mallet, I wrapped the individual chops in some plastic wrap to prevent splattering meat juices and bits of it all over my kitchen and gave it a good whack with the mallet on both sides. You can see the indentations of the mallet all over the meat. I then seasoned the chops with salt and pepper and voilà it’s prepped and ready to go.

 

Now for the messy part : my “breading mix” is composed of 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast, 1Tbs of Coconut Flour, 3Tbs of unsweetened Coconut Flakes and some more salt and pepper. You could easily incorporate some other spices like paprika, cumin, turmeric, etc. As usual, every time you make this, you can turn this into 10+ different variations of the same meal by playing with the spices. And for the wet ingredients I used 2 eggs (you will need more or less depending how many chops you’re working with).  The technique here is to dip your chop in the egg wash on both sides and then place it in the dry mix, flip and coat the other side. You can repeat this twice if you feel that your chop is not sufficiently covered. I only coated once, as you can always sprinkle some of the dry mix on the spots that did not coat properly.

 

And here is the assembled meal – the pork chop looks very much the same way as what I was used to having as a child, but the rest of my plate looks nothing like the pile of boiled potatoes. Notice that I kept the drippings of butter from the bottom of my pan and drizzled them all over, it’s that yummy.

 

I replaced the starchy potatoes with fried lime fennel, side of caramelized mushrooms and some sliced radish. It was perfectly satisfying and I did not feel like I needed to lie down after consuming it.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here you have it – you may consider this another instalment of “How will I live without _______ (fill in the blank) on a LCHF diet?” – this time a perfectly breaded porkchop without the unnecessary carbage. You can enjoy the delicious breaded pork chops and not worry about the carb content in your meal – there is some carbs in coconut flour, but the amount is truly insignificant when looking at how much actually adheres to each chop. Note : that I had 5 chops and did not use up all of my “breading” mix.

 

 

 

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Are you struggling to add fat in your diet?

It’s frightening to realize that thanks to Ancel Keys – the man who made us all fear fat – we now might find it difficult to add healthy fats back into our diets. I’ve been following various online discussion groups and have seen this question pop up many a time : “How do you make sure to get a sufficient amount of fat in your diet?”

A lot of your fat intake will come from fatty meats like beef, lamb, pork and fatty fish, but it’s not as simple as increasing your intake of those proteins to reach the desired amount of fat. The reason why this is not the most optimal way of increasing fat intake lies in the fact that most people on a ketogenic diet will need to closely monitor their protein intake and make sure not to exceed what their bodies can utilise for the building and the repair of body tissues. This requirement will, of course, vary largely depending on physical activity and goals of each individual. But generally speaking protein should be kept at a safe level – which is about 20% of total calorie intake –  as to prevent gluconeogenesis from occurring. In short, we are concerned with conversion of excess protein into glucose which might have a similar effect on the body as consumption of carbohydrates. So what are the ways of increasing fat without necessarily increasing protein intake at the same time?

One of the ways to include a healthy dose of fat is to use mayonnaise. You could go and find a good quality mayo at your grocery store, but you would probably have to pay up to 3-4 times the price of a standard canola oil mayo and you’d still be consuming unnecessary ingredients. And if you settle for the lowly canola oil or worse soybean oil mayo you might as well ditch it in the garbage because that’s the wrong type of fat that will cause inflammation and wreck havoc with your arteries. So I propose spending literally 5 minutes in your kitchen to whip up your own mayonnaise – here is how:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Mayo
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 58
  • Serving size: 5g
  • Calories: 29
  • Fat: 3.3
  • Saturated fat: 0.5
  • Unsaturated fat: 2.8
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0.1
  • Cholesterol: 3.2
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: LCHF and Keto
Cook time: 
Total time: 
You'll be glad you didn't settle for the store bought mayo!
Ingredients
  • 1 Egg
  • 1tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 200ml Avocado OIl
Instructions
  1. Whip the egg, mustard, lemon juice and salt together in a food processor.
  2. Once above ingredients are fully incorporated start slowly adding the avocado oil while the processor is on high speed. It is important to complete this very slowly or otherwise your mayo will split and that's a very undesirable attribute.
  3. You will know when your mayo is "done" which might be before you use up all your oil because you'll hear a different sound coming from the blades mixing the mayo. It will sound fuller and thicker.
Notes
Every time you make this mayo you can turn it into whatever flavour you want. You can play with spices in any way your hearts desires by adding them at the very end of the process. Have you ever heard of sriracha mayo? Well I have, but the store bought type has tons of sugar added to it that I would rather skip. So I make my own Sriracha Mayo by following this recipe and adding some sriracha spice or sauce at the very end. You want a lemon mayo? Add lemon zest and some lemon pepper. How about herb mayo? No problem pull out some herbs (herbs de provence, thyme or oregano ) and play with it. See what type of mayo will become your favorite and then you have it in your arsenal.

I've kept this amount of mayo in my fridge for up to 2 weeks, after that you will notice oil separation occur - it's still good to eat, you just have to stir it, but for safety I'd probably ditch it at this point. Most people use mayo quite liberally, so there is no need to worry that this small amount will go back, you'll use it up fairly quickly and you might even have to make another batch before the week is over.

Note about the serving size - you will quickly realise that 5g is not very much, but it is only a suggested serving size and you can increase it to your desired volume. However, you don't want the majority of your calories coming from a condiment, after all it's pretty much pure fat. The function of condiments is to add flavour, not to overwhelm your plate. Treat it as a flavour enhancer and you will agree that you don't need a huge amount.

And for the visual aid I put this one together for you. This video is only 2 minutes 52 seconds long (but took 5 to shoot – the time it takes to make this mayo) and it really is all it takes to whip up your own delicious mayo with minimal ingredients:

You might be wondering how I use this mayo since I certainly do not use it in the conventional way by spreading it on a slice of white bread or a whole wheat wrap. In fact, it’s worth repeating, for the sake of clarity and understanding for those who are beginners at this WOE, that once you get over the fear of fat and start incorporating it in your meals the most important thing to remember (after selecting the right kinds of fats) is to remove all starchy carbohydrates (bread, wraps, cookies, pasta, rice etc.) from your diet. The reason for that is that fat (good or bad) eaten together with sugary/starchy carbohydrates will most assuredly be deposited as body and organ fat and will not have the chance to act as it was intended to for energy source, vitamin absorption and hormone regulation etc. The second most important point to keep in mind is that even though this is a high fat WOE it is not advisable to crank up the fat intake all that much. You really don’t have to go out of your way to seek out fat. This is especially true for people who already carry a lot of fat on their frames. Just think about it : you want to use fat as energy and you also want to access excess body fat for this purpose, if you eat a lot of dietary fat the fat you consume will be used for energy and any excess will be turned into body fat that will be deposited on top of what you already are carrying. At the beginning, the idea is to access your body fat to fulfill your energy needs. And only after you have burned a significant amount of body fat will you be able to increase your dietary fat.

My most favorite way to use mayo is to smother my eggs in it – there is nothing quite as satisfying as mixing those 2 flavours together. I don’t necessarily go as far as making deviled eggs as that is way too fancy for a regular lunch at work – I simply put a dollop of my mayo on a halved egg that’s buried somewhere in my coleslaw or other greens. I might simply use it as dipping sauce for my meat or make a tuna salad with it. Another great use for mayo is in dressings – many store bought salad dressings and other condiments use commercial grade mayo as a base – well, now you can do that too with your own mayo! And the beauty of using your own mayo in dressings is of course the fact that your mayo will have the highest quality ingredients of all the mayo out there.

You can use it in any way you desire – don’t limit yourself by following the conventional dogma.

 

 

 

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Sweetener resolution update

My birthday marked exactly two weeks into my New Year’s Resolution to remove my dependency on sweeteners, which for a long time has been limited to SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia only. However, I started noticing that daily use of this sweetener caused me to want to eat more in general, regardless of my hunger cues – you can read about my reasons behind the need to scale down in my initial post. So if you are wondering how I’ve been doing with this, read on….

The day I committed to scale down on the treats and the following workweek was spot on, 100% void of sweet treats. Everybody I know has a hard time resisting treats in social gatherings, at work, at parties etc. and for me that setting is the easiest one to say NO to treats. Why? Because I come prepared : I know exactly what I am going to eat and how much – it’s in my lunch box. I’ve already calculated all the nutrition of my packed meals because I made them, so I know what went into them. However, if somebody brings in a dip and crackers to work or other sweet treats, I have no way of knowing how to calculate that into my day – even if I wanted to have some. That’s a bit extreme for some, I realise that, but if that’s what keeps me from indulging then I’m willing to make that work for me. During the workweek I behaved and did not indulge in any sweet treats during the day or at night. My challenges lie in the inactivity…

Think a relaxing evening with a loved one on a couch watching your favorite show or a Saturday afternoon lounging around the house or a lazy Sunday morning in pyjamas – those times are very taxing on my little brain. For some reason my hands keep wanting to bring treats into my mouth 😉 And that’s what happened the past two weekends – subconsciously I’ve planned out my meals for Saturday and Sunday that included my regular sweet treat – a big ass pancake for each night. So out of 14 days 4 of them I did include my sweetener 4 times to make a pancake, which I think is a pretty good start on my way to sweetness freedom. I know I can do better and in order to do better I need to remove the inactivity trigger from my life during evenings and on the weekends….

The fact that the last day happened to be my birthday and I became overcome with an urge to develop a new sweet recipe did not help at all! In fact, I may have overdone it on the sampling of the new recipe just a tad – but then again, birthdays only come once a year, right? Well, I think that mentality is what gets us in trouble in the first place – how many times have you heard your internal voice say: “This is going to be the last time I’m going to have some, because it’s *fill-in-the-blank-special-occasion*” ? I dare say a lot – I know I have justified an indulgence more than once in my life just because it was a holiday. So, I’m putting that mentality on trial along side the sweetener.

Having said that and having recommitted myself to get rid of my sweet tooth for good, I did end up with a bowlful of Coconut Chocolate Cups on my birthday, so I think it’s only fair that I share the recipe with you 🙂

Coconut Chocolate Cups
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: 30g
  • Calories: 231
  • Fat: 23.5
  • Saturated fat: 21.1
  • Unsaturated fat: 0.4
  • Carbohydrates: 4.1
  • Sugar: 1.8
  • Sodium: 8.1
  • Fiber: 2.1
  • Protein: 1.9
  • Cholesterol: 2.5
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Sweet Treat LCHF
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Watch out because you might get addicted to these - they are one of a kind.
Ingredients
  • 3 packages of Pure Creamed Coconut
  • 2tbs of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2tbs Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 15g Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 3tbs Coconut Oil
  • 10 drops of SweetLeaf Stevia drops
  • Extract of choice
Instructions
  1. Put the Pure Creamed Coconut in a double boiler and start mixing until you get a pretty runny consistency.
  2. Add 1tbs of Whipping Cream and mix - your mixture with harden a bit but as you keep mixing on the double boiler it will soften up again.
  3. Add Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil and Stevia as well as extract if you're using any. Mix well.
  4. Add the second tablespoon of Whipping Cream and mix well.
  5. At the very end add the Coconut Flakes and integrate them well into the mix.
  6. Pour out about 30g of the mix into a silicone muffin form and repeat until all the batter is used up.
  7. Place the muffin forms into the freezer to help set.
  8. When Cups are set gently take them out of their molds and place them in a container to store. I would keep them either in the fridge or even the freezer.
Notes
Note 1 : If you can't find The Pure Creamed Coconut by Grace at your local grocery store there is an alternative but it is somewhat more expensive. Nutiva has a product called Coconut Manna, which is a puréed coconut meat. A 425g jar will run you about 12-13$. The packets that I buy are 1.69$ for 141g. So when you do the math you're saving yourself a bit of change. My packets look a bit less fancy and you have to get your creamed coconut from a plastic bag, but at that price difference I'm willing to do some work.

Note 2 : I see people spending an extraordinary amount of money on cocoa powder and I just can't justify it when I know I'm going through so much of it - it is not an occasional ingredient for me. And to be perfectly honest I cannot tell the difference between the fancy cocoa powder packaged beautifully and enticingly and the regular store brand cocoa powder. And there should not be any difference because the ingredient lists the exact same thing. So I always opt for the store brand cocoa powder, but to each their own - any will do.

Note 3 : I found a nice section of very potent extracts at Bulk Barn and for this one I used a few drops of cherry extract. Mint would go well with these and maybe some heat in the form of chili powder. You could also sprinkle these with chipotle himalayan salt before you put them in the freezer to set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were very tasty – not too sweet, as I tried to hold myself back on the Stevia and they had a very mild coconut undertone. I enjoyed the shaved coconut flakes in them as well – nice texture addition. You could swap the coconut flakes and instead add nuts – I think whole hazelnuts would be great in these.

Hope you enjoy these little cups, don’t do what I did, though, because too much of the good thing isn’t that good.

I’ve put together a short instructional video to show how I usually deal with Pure Creamed Coconut – it took me a while to figure it out, but once I did I understood the ways in which I can use this product much better. Forgive the amateurish feel of my first real attempt at video making, hope you’ll enjoy it anyway 🙂

 

 

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Turning traditional into LCHF meals

This is a late Christmas-themed post, but if you’ve been reading this blog you must have come to the conclusion that I am not much about traditions or following culinary rules. I figured that if people still have not taken down their Christmas decorations and by the looks of it some haven’t, writing about Christmas food is also allowed 😉 So here goes the little tradition that I still have left in me, namely my most favorite Christmas dish from my childhood – Bigos.

Growing up this dish would most certainly appear during Christmas holidays, but occasionally my mom would make it outside of the holiday season. I guess deep down she did not care for staying true to the rules, either. Whatever the case, Bigos is a type of a cabbage stew and would be eaten with a slice of bread that you would use for dipping in it or as a side with a hearty serving of potatoes, less likely with rice or pasta, but a starch of some sort would be necessary, because according to mom you needed a filler to keep you full for longer. Little did she know that starch would make you want to go for seconds and maybe even thirds.

Today I serve this stew – which on its own is perfectly ketogenic and only becomes unsuitable when potatoes are added – with a bed of spiralized zucchini or with my mashed cauliflower. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like adding a side I just scoop some of it in the bowl, reheat it and eat it just as is.

The recipe for this dish, like most of my recipes is full-proof and requires absolutely no culinary skills whatsoever. Following the instructions is the only requirement to end up with a successful, yummy dish. And even then, there is not much that can go wrong with this one. Have a look yourself.

Bigos
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Side, Main, whatever you want it to be 🙂
Cuisine: LCFH
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 head of White Cabbage
  • 1 jar of Sauerkraut
  • 1 can of unsweetened Tomato Paste
  • 1 package of fried Herb and Garlic Sausages by Jamie Oliver
  • 1 Pork Tenderloin Roast
  • 2 slices of cooked Pork Belly (optional but preferable)
  • 2 carmelized Onions
  • 5-6 fried Mushrooms
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Season your Pork Tenderloin Roast with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and slightly brown it in a frying pan with some coconut oil. It does not have to cook through as it will do so later with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Put lightly browned Pork Roast at the bottom of a large pot - I can't stress enough that you should use the largest pot you've got.
  3. Next, chop your cabbage and layer it together with the Sauerkraut on top of the Roast.
  4. Add already prepared Mushrooms and Onions.
  5. Add already fried and sliced Sausages to the pot.
  6. Add cooked and chopped Pork Belly.
  7. Add Salt, Pepper, Bay Leaves and cover with water - about ¾th of the pot.
  8. Cook on medium heat until cabbage softens and you notice the volume has decreased somewhat in the pot.
  9. Stir occasionally to integrate the ingredients. As the dish cooks you will find that the meat on the bottom of the pot starts breaking off - that's a good thing, you want pieces of the pork integrated in the dish so that each bite gives you a bit of everything.
  10. When cabbage is fully cooked add a small can of unsweetened tomato paste and mix well.
  11. Cook for another 30 minutes.
Notes
Note 1: As is the case with any stew-like dishes, this one gets better every time you reheat it. It's not a dish that will be gone in one sitting - it will last you for a while, so you can freeze some or if you are like me you can eat it until it's gone, dressing it up a little differently every time you serve it. As it ages it will develop a depth of flavour that the most picky eater will appreciate.

Note 2: You do not need to use Jamie Oliver's sausages if you can't find them or have other reasons not to support the celebrity. The reason why I use them is because that's the only sausages that I could avail of that are not full of sugar and breadcrumbs out where I live. I kid you not, every other package that I have picked up in the last couple of months has been laden with extra fillers. I tried one package that contained the minimum of stuff in it and even then I just couldn't stomach it - the sausages no longer tasted like meat, they tasted like greasy bread. So if you have a butcher that can prepare you something of quality, go for it, otherwise I found those to fit the bill.

Note 3: Pork Belly Slices vs. Bacon - while eating LCHF diet people will often indulge heavily in Bacon. In fact, if you follow any discussion groups online you will see people displaying pictures of their meals featuring bacon in all its glory. I'm not opposed to bacon per se, my beef with bacon is that it's cured with sugar. Granted when you look at the nutritional value, the carbohydrate content does not seem very high at only 1-5g per serving - but when you are eating a LCHF diet and you're aiming at maybe consuming 20g of carbs a day, those 5g all of a sudden become problematic because it's ¼th of your allotted carb intake. And on top of that it's the worst possible type of carb - blood glucose spiking type. When I eat meat, I want to be eating protein and fat, not sugar. So, the easiest way to go about avoiding it is to buy fresh Pork Belly slices instead of cured bacon. Unless of course you can find naturally cured bacon with no sugar, then go for it. Otherwise, I find fresh Pork Belly will add the oomph I'm looking for from bacon.

 

 

Traditions aside, this meal is a must in your arsenal of meals on days during a busy work week when you have very little time to cook. You basically throw all the ingredients in a pot during the weekend and it literally cooks itself with only an occasional stir. You put it in the fridge or even freeze a portion of it for another time and if you are in the pickle during the week reheat it, add a side vegetable such as zucchini noodles (or not), some cubed avocado for added healthy fats and you have yourself a quick supper – no mess, no fuss – 10 minutes flat. Enjoy!

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How will I ever live without potatoes on a LCHF diet?

Once you’ve tasted well prepared potatoes in any form you will undoubtedly want to go for more. It’s a fact, they are addictive – after all they behave the same way sugar does when it enters your body: they elevate your blood glucose, give you a quick energy boost and then make you crash and crave more.

Let’s take potato chips, can you stop at one? No, you can’t. Now, with potato chips there is more at play than just the fact that they are made out of a potato (supposedly – there is more chemistry in a potato chip than there is actual potato) – the companies making potato chips have their own recipe for making you want to go for more than one – but I digress, this is a topic for another post. Potatoes, when prepared correctly seduce you with their deep and savoury starchiness and give you a mouthfeel that is not reproducible by any other food, or is it? You feel like you’re eating fluffy clouds not potatoes… Next the starch content raises your blood glucose and soon your body will release insulin to manage the glucose, turn some of it into liver and muscle glycogen and store the rest where it can – mostly in your buttocks. Because you know damn well that one serving of mashed potatoes will not do, you’ll want some more and some more, and you know that you will douse it with a heavy, creamy coating of gravy.

Living a LCHF lifestyle does not mean you have to forget about ever having mashed potatoes. OK, you have to forget about it, but if you are open-minded you can easily create substitutions to your favorite dishes. And they might actually turn out better than the original! Just give it a try. Here is a step by step instructions on how to go about it and it’s pretty darn easy and won’t take you much more time than preparing “the real thing”.

STEP 1: Steam or boil a head of cauliflower – yes, of all things available you will substitute potatoes with cauliflower! Mostly because it has a mind flavour that will soak up the flavour of anything you decide to add to it.  

STEP 2: Transfer cooked and cooled cauliflower into a food processor and process on high until you reach the consistency of a mashed potato.

I bet you you couldn’t tell it wasn’t a potato in my food processor! Now, you could skip the food processor and mash the cauliflower by hand, but it is so much easier this way and you’ll achieve a silky smooth consistency.

Now that I think of it, I should have done a side by side comparison of potato vs. cauliflower mash to show you that there is no visual difference. However, I would have been stuck with a bunch of mashed potatoes at the end that I would not know what to do with… Do birds eat mashed potatoes?

STEP 3: Melt 1tbs of butter or coconut oil in a large frying pan and add your mashed cauliflower in the frying pan.

I used to be afraid of butter, but I remember very clearly growing up that butter was the primary fat used in my mother’s kitchen. I rarely saw any bottles of vegetable oil kicking around, it was always butter. She’d make her famous boneless pork chops and fry them in butter. Mind you, there is one step in her pork chop recipe that I definitely skip and that’s breading them in breadcrumbs… Instead I’d use spices, nutritional yeast, coconut flour or coconut flakes if I was to coat my meats… I think I just put my creative engine in a drive mode 🙂

STEP 4: Now comes the fun part that you can play with to your heart’s content by adding whatever you have in your spice arsenal. I used salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, pesto herb blend by Especias des Sol ¹  and a leftover shredded parmesan cheese. You can play with different combinations, though, and make these take on a different flavour every time you make them, there really isn’t a rule to this, well, maybe just one: have fun with it.

I cannot stress it enough how important it is to not shy away from your spice rack – throw away the rules and try new things. Buy a spice you’ve never heard of before and add it to your cauliflower mash, see what it does to it, how it changes its flavour. Cauliflower doesn’t have much flavour on its own so it’s important to add some to it, otherwise it will be bland.

STEP 5: Next add a splash of heavy whipping cream and integrate everything together by mixing with a spoon or a spatula.

In the past, heavy whipping cream used to be an ingredient, just like butter, that would have never graced my grocery list with its presence – simply because it’s a fat. This reminds me, I must update my grocery list to include it permanently on it instead of having to add it to the list every single week. I don’t use a lot of it and you don’t need a lot to make anything taste rich. Also, don’t settle for the less fatty alternatives or worse yet the fake creamers – those all come with carbs and additives, this one has 0g of carbs and 0 additives.

 

Stir everything until well integrated together.

STEP 6: Let cook for another 5-10 minutes for the mixture to thicken a bit.

Doesn’t this look like the best mashed potatoes cauliflower you’ve ever seen?

STEP 7: Transfer into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme or more pesto mix. 

Cauliflower is an excellent substitution for the starchy potato in that it is packed with nutrition at only a fraction of caloric density. 100g of boiled cauliflower will cost you 23 calories of which only 4g is carbohydrates, 100g of boiled potato is about 4 times as calorically dense at 87 calories and a whooping 20g of carbs. And the flavour and mouthfeel are very comparable if not on par with the potato.
Stats for a boiled potato look pretty decent, until you compare them to the alternative.
And here is what I opt for instead of the potato, it won’t make me heavy and droopy.
Of course, the above calories comparison will change as you change what you add to your mix (olive oil, butter, cream) – but those are all fats that will add needed flavor. Remember, you’re deriving your energy from fat by replacing unneeded carbs for fat – no need to fear or avoid adding fat to your meals.

 

I’m fairly sure that if this mash was served to an unsuspecting person they would not be able to tell they are not eating potatoes.

And that’s a wrap for this instalment of “How will I live without _______ (fill in the blank) on a LCHF diet?” Just because you grew up eating a certain food item which in effect made you bloated and sick doesn’t mean that you have to continue eating it and feeling like you are slowly killing yourself. You can find a healthier alternative for most of these foods and if you can’t, so what? If there is a better way to fuel your body that doesn’t make you groggy, tired and lethargic every time you eat, then it’s a small price to pay to get rid of those offenders from your diet for good.

¹ I found this blend at Winners quite by chance – that’s what happens when I visit my favorite store on a spur of a moment – I end up with spices that come in handy I never know when I am going to be able to use. Now, you probably shouldn’t run to Winners to look for this Pesto mix, because chances are you will not find it. I don’t expect to find it again, either. However, you can easily make this mix yourself with store bought dry herbs. Take equal parts of dry basil, garlic, sun dried tomato, oregano and sesame seeds (I’d probably lower the amount to 1/3 of the other ingredients) and put in a coffee grinder. Grind as long as it takes to integrate and make mixture into a powder. Voilà! You made yourself a Pesto mix! Especias del Sol. (back to top)

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Sumac Pork Chops in Pesto Sauce

This post has been written sometime during the morning hours of Christmas vacation that I enjoyed at home this year – a rarity in the fast paced life of a workforce gal. I’ve been feeling very inspired this Christmas to write at the expense of my gym visits, but that’s OK, because I ended up with a string of posts that I was going to start posting in weekly instalments come January 2017. But this one must come early as a token of appreciation for having received the most touching compliments already.

When you embrace the fat on your plate you will quickly realize that it doesn’t take much food to satiate you. It takes time though to switch your thinking from I must fill up the plate to the brim to it’s OK to see the bottom of the plate. We’ve been programmed to believe that if we don’t have enough to eat, we might die of starvation before the next meal. However, the truth of the matter is that it would take us much longer than the meager 2-3 hours in between meals (that most people allow between meals) to starve to death. Most of us carry enough body fat to fuel themselves for quite a bit before we’d die….

So this is what I endeavour to make my plates look like, unless, of course I’m making a big bowl of salad 🙂

This is a very simple meal that packs on tons of nutrients and will satisfy the hungriest among us. I know because I fed it to a very hungry meal tester only to see a wide smile on his face when he was done.

 

Sumac Pork Chops
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: LCHF
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Fat loaded, grain and sugar free dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 large Pork Chop (bone in)
  • Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Dash of Smoked Paprika, Onion and Garlic Powder
  • Generous Coating of Sumac
  • 1 Tbs of Coconut Oil or Butter
Instructions
  1. Coat the chop with all the spices and let sit for about 5 minutes while you prep your frying pan.
  2. Turn on the burner at medium heat and let the Coconut Oil or Butter melt in the frying pan.
  3. Place the chop in the frying pan - it's important that the frying pan be hot in order to get a nice browning on your chop. You'll hear it sizzle when it touches the pan - that's a sign the pan was hot enough.
  4. Let it cook on one side for 5-10 minutes before flipping it to the other side.
  5. Once browned flip and let cook on the other side.
Notes
The only way to screw this one up is by constantly poking at the meat in the frying pan. The most important thing to remember is to leave it alone - once you place it in the frying pan, let it cook. If you keep moving it around it will not develop a nice crunchy exterior. Leave it alone and you will be amazed at the flavour and texture. Only flip once.

This goes pretty much for any meat you are preparing this way, if you want a nice crispy exterior let it develop it by keeping away.

Of course, you have to be vigilant not to let it cook for too long or your meat with burn 😉

 
Quick and easy sauce/dressing that has a million and one applications and can spice up any meal, from an unsuspecting salad to a juicy steak.

 

For this meal to be LCHF there is no starch on the plate. Instead, I decided to up the fat content by adding 1/2 an avocado to the plate and generously coat the chop in my own pesto sauce. And since I had some of my roasted grape tomatoes left I added them to this meal for splash of colour and flavour. I should mention that I don’t do anything special with the avocado – I splash some lemon juice on it, sprinkle with salt, pepper and chilli powder. I like to taste the avocado rather than cover it up in other flavours and the best way of achieving it is by leaving it as is with minimal spices.

 

 

 

 

 

We tend to be so busy with life, work, house chores and other responsibilities that we forget to unwind and enjoy our meals. Many times food is just simply inhaled when it should be savoured. When I offered this meal for consumption I’m pretty sure that the presentation made a huge difference in the experience of eating. Maybe, just maybe, for some of us the presentation will make us slow down a notch and eat with more care, as if though it was a delicate piece of art that needed not be disturbed, as if though eating it with purpose was able to preserve the integrity of the art even after it’s been consumed.

This is important not only for the experience of eating and savouring the flavours but also for our brains to have  the time to release hormones –  the little messengers telling our body to feel satiated. If you slow down you will also notice that the empty spaces on your plate are not that big of a deal either.

Ps. Day one with no sweeteners was a success – I stayed away from my liquid stevia even at night! It is a transition though, because after my evening meal I still felt like I needed a dessert. So I reached for my favorite fat source – Pure-Creamed-Coconut – added a pinch of unsweetened cocoa powder and vanilla, mixed it all together and had my way with it. Normally I would add a generous splash of stevia in this concoction, but not last night – I let the natural sweetness of  coconut be enough and it was. I also noticed that without the overpowering sweetness of stevia I didn’t feel like eating the whole package in one go. So, my theory on eating more than necessary to satiate when using sweeteners is already coming true.

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My New Year’s Resolution this year

Disclaimer warning: If you start reading this post only to ask yourself why the heck am I putting this out here, please know that one of the purposes of this blog is to keep myself accountable. If it’s out there and I fail you will be my judge. 

I’m not sure what it is that prompts people to commit to a New Year’s Resolution around this time of year, but the sudden desire to better myself at something come January 1st has overcome me as well this morning. You could say that we are being bombarded by the media telling us from every corner of the house that a new year is beginning and hence we should work on our resolution lists. However, my TV is never on – I hate the constant blaring of TV so unless there is something specific I want to watch it stays off, I only listen to the radio on the way to work in the car – and it’s the public radio for that. In fact, the only way I know what time of year it is is because I am not waking up every morning to go to work, and even then I need to look it up in the calendar to see how many days left til we’re all back to reality. So, what is it that makes me want to hop on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon? Maybe I’m just sick and tired of this lala land without any schedule whatsoever, getting up whenever I  feel like, skipping gym or washing my hair, maybe I just want back into the real world…. Now, this makes me think: Is this what retirement is like?

Whatever the reason, I’ve decided that I too should show my allegiance to the millions of people trying to make their lives better this coming year and change something about mine. Given my last post,  it only makes sense for my resolution to revolve around food. Yes, there is one thing that I am still working on improving as far as food choices are concerned – sweeteners.

If I was to pick one vice, one weakness that still plagues my life it would be my sweet tooth… well maybe also not wanting to leave the house after dark, but that’s not food related ;-)…. I’ve been known to skip supper and instead make myself a sweet treat – lately I’ve been on a coconut pancake kick. But I go through phases of different treats – a long time ago it used to be protein ice-cream…

 

then I couldn’t stop making mug cakes….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was even a time when I’d eat this delicious store bought no-sugar added So Delicious coconut ice-cream. Notice that these were from an era of IIFYM when sugar was an accepted ingredients of my deserts as long as it fit my macros – the ice-cream was sugar free, but the toppings were certainly not. Hard to believe I these were my nightly treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and for the past little while it’s been my beloved big ass pancake….

Every night, like in a Swiss clock, I’d be at my stove going through the motions of preparing for yet another pancake. I now have it down path: whip the eggwhites in the food processor until stiff peaks form while I measure out the coconut flour and my various toppings (nut butters, nuts, coconut flakes, cocoa powder with stevia and few drops of water to make it into a paste – you name it I can whip it up). It’s become a type of a tradition now, but I’m getting sick of it. A tradition that makes you feel like a slave to your urges is not a good tradition. Sure, I make it by myself – the pancake is not store-bought, there is no sugar in it – I use pure Stevia extract drops to sweeten my pancake batter, it has minimal ingredients that I weigh out, I also track every gram of every ingredient in my food tracking app – MFP. Granted, I feel better about my pancake than I would if I was sitting down to a bag of Doritos, that’s true, but is it really that much better?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is not that much better after all.  I have become enslaved to my little tradition and I seem to be unable to stop. That one night treat will go down every single night regardless of whether I’m hungry or not – I just simply have to have it or I will feel deprived. And that feeling of deprivation right there has nothing to do with food or hunger – it has to do with the hold that sweeteners have had on my life for quite some time. I’ve gone through an array of safe to consume, better sweeteners :

Erythritol,
Xylitol,
Truvia (I was careful enough not to buy the big bags as those are blends that often time contain sugar as a bulk agent),
Monk fruit,
VitaFiber IMO (Isomaltooligosaccharide),
Just Like Sugar,
Swerve, …

You name them, I’ve probably used them. There is a chapter of my life that I recently managed to close permanently in which  I craved the sweet stuff so much that you’d be hard pressed to see me without a huge piece of aspartame sweetened chewing gum in my mouth – hardly able to speak. I thought since my gum had no sugar in it, I was safe to chew it to my heart’s content. Same happens to an artificially sweetened nightly treat – it does not contain sugar in it, so what’s the harm in it, right? That’s exactly what the manufacturers of all these sugar replacements will have you believe – they are better than the obvious white poison, but are they really?

Even after reducing my sweetener of choice to the one and only, better-than-all-the-rest-of-them – SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia – I still find myself strangely drawn to the sweet taste, like an addict to her poison. In the morning I might actually resolve myself to not making a sweet night treat, but as the day goes on my resolve weakens and I find myself planning for the pancake anyway. I hear myself saying : “Just this last time and then I’ll be done with it forever”. And by the time the evening comes and we are quietly awaiting some TV viewing I start going through my well known steps to make yet another sweet treat.

I now believe that it’s the case with all sweeteners (good, bad, natural, artificial etc.) that there is much more at play than just their caloric value. Sure, when you look at the package, most sugar replacers will claim 0 calories and 0 carbs or very close to 0 – this is supposed to make them better than sugar – but calories and carbs are only part of the equation of the relationship with sweeteners that we have developed. In fact, I’ve learned to believe (based on my own experience) that those calories and carb claims on the packages make us more likely to overindulge. We have come to think that if the package says there is no dietary repercussions to consuming a given food we can gorge on it and there will be no consequences for us. Finally, we can have the cake and eat it too! And I’ve been eating it way too much.

It might not be a physical consequence – even though that’s a point of debate – but there certainly is a mental consequence. When you can’t go a day without your favorite aspartame sweetened soda or gum – or as is now the case for me, a Stevia sweetened nightly treat – there is a problem : you have got yourself hooked on the sweet taste. If addiction doesn’t scare you, because supposedly you are not consuming calories let me remind you that the research on all these sweeteners is still in its infancy and we know very little as to how they affect our bodies. It matters very little that you are not consuming calories when you sweeten your coffee with Sweet ‘n Low if your blood glucose might still be going up as a response to the sweet taste? If your blood glucose is up, the insulin is released to deal with it, couple that with a pasta dish and a fat storing process begins without you even realising.

So this time is good as any – my New Year’s Resolution this year is to say no to the sweet stuff and learn to live without even the good sweet stuff.

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Why you should cancel your gym membership

Disclaimer: I am and always will be pro-exercise – everybody who knows me thinks I’m nuts for getting up at 3AM  to go get my dose of endorphins at the gym. So why would I be advising everybody else to ditch the gym? Read on…

 

With the New Year’s resolution time slowly approaching I thought I should put my word out to warn against rushing to sign up for gym memberships. Here is why I think you should at least hold off on dishing out the membership fees just yet:

  1. Exercise will not make you lose weight
  2. Exercise might make you gain weight 

Those two statements are true mostly because you are likely following one of the two dietary recommendations:

  1. Fitness community dieting prescription of low-fat and low-carb or;
  2. Mainstream government dietary recommendations of low-fat and high-carb.
  3. There is a third option and you are likely scared to death of it so let me try to sway you….

Do you know who perpetuates the idea that in order to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more? – the pseudo-food companies who fund research that tells us so!

The big food corporations give money to scientists who then manipulate the data in such a way that it fits the expected results. ¹ The media then ends up being the vehicle for transmission of this mantra : “Losing weight is dependent on calories in and calories out – as long as calories out is higher than calories in you will lose weight. So what do people do? They try to exercise the hell out of their bodies and then deprive themselves of nutrition in order to stay thin. We all know how much success one can get on that type of approach : 9 times out of 10 people lose the battle with the bulge because when they exercise as vigorously as they are told to, they  are inadvertently fueling their hunger. They become ravenous, so they end up eating back all the calories they might have burnt during exercise and then some.

How many times have you heard people say “I exercise so that I can have that cake”? I dare say many a time.  And those who don’t subscribe to the idea of “having earned the cake by exercising” and resist the bad foods will eventually cave in as well – no matter how much will power they exert on their bodies eventually they, too, will have to give in. Just look at any bodybuilding competitor who has starved themselves silly to get to a very low bodyfat percentage – once they won the trophy (or not) they will likely inhale all the forbidden high-carb foods (cookies, ice cream, cakes etc) and within days will pack on everything back that they worked so hard to lose. I say this without a drop of judgement on my part – hell I have tons of respect for anybody who can deprive themselves to make their skin look paper thin! What happens next is beyond anybody’s control – when the body is starved for nutrition no amount of will power will keep a person away from food for long.

This happens because the fitness dieting mantra  goes something like this :

To lose weight – in addition to exercise – you should eat low-fat and low-carb.

In principle it makes sense, because if you deprive yourself of both energy sources – fat and carbs – your body will eventually tap into your stored body fat. However, in practice it is highly unsustainable and unhealthy. It’s impossible to maintain this type of regime even for the most committed diehards out there. You will eventually crack and chances are you will devour everything around you in search of nutrition and energy – high carb, high fat and everything in between. That’s why instead of focusing on exercise you should first focus on FOOD as your primary tool in losing the bulge not exercise.

There is, of course, a flipside to this and it’s called the food pyramid that will have you eating 65-75% of

your daily caloric intake in the form of starchy carbohydrates and a very low fat intake of 5%-10%. So you might think this is the better option since carbohydrates, being an energy source, will keep you feeling energized – as opposed to the fitness approach that cuts out both energy sources, fat and carbs. But you would be wrong. For most people eating such a large percentage of daily caloric intake in the form of carbs has an exactly opposite effect to that of losing weight – it makes you put on weight. On top of high carb intake the food pyramid recommends eating 5-6 small meals a day – if every meal is composed primarily of carbohydrates your body is producing insulin all day long to try to manage blood glucose by storing some of it as glycogen in the liver and muscle and any excess as fat on your body. Remember, your liver and muscle can store only a limited amount of glycogen and if you are constantly fueling your body with carbs you are bound to exceed those stores. And since most of us lead a very sedentary life we don’t need that much energy from food stored away. You might be thinking you need energy for that gym visit but trust me, you don’t need any extra than what’s already stored in your muscle. So eating a high-carb and low-fat diet is not the answer for most of us either because it’s counterintuitive to losing weight.

So what’s the solution? Are we all bound to be either miserable for the lack of fuel (low-carb and low-fat) if we follow the fitness industry’s guidelines or fat and sick (high-carbs and low-fat) if we follow the food pyramid? The answer of course is to flip the contents of the food pyramid on its head and get rid of the current, largest section of bread, cereals, potatoes and all starchy vegetables! The largest section would contain meats and fish followed by full fat dairy and oils (coconut, lard, butter, ghee, duck fat, etc), the next level will feature nuts, seeds and fibrous veggies and at the very top you’d have a choice of some berries that are low in sugar.

If you eat LCHF diet you will find that:

  1. You will regulate your hormones – you will end the perpetual cycle of insulin flooding your body every time you eat – this is very important because insulin is the fat-storing hormone. It’s released in your body when carbohydrates are consumed converting glucose from those carbohydrates into liver and muscle glycogen and directing all excess glucose into fat storage. This does not happen when dietary fat is used for energy – no insulin spikes occur.
  2. You will feel full quicker – since fat is the most calorically dense of all 3 macronutrients it satiates better than the other two (carbs and protein). So as a result you will feel content with your meal quicker and for a longer period of time. Moreover, you might even find that upon waking up you will not feel the need to eat. How liberating would that be to wake up and not have to fix yourself a breakfast because you are just not hungry?
  3. You will not experience hunger pangs the same way as when you try to restrict your food intake on a regular high-carb or low-carb-low-fat diet. Your hunger will not manifest itself as this sudden, painful, alarming fire in your belly that needs to be extinguished ASAP or else you might die. It will come on gently and gradually, as if to give you time to fix a meal.

Only now, if you still feel like you want to (and you will) would I recommend that you start some form of exercise. But not necessarily gym-centered – instead start slow. Go out for a walk or a hike that is not very strenuous – as a result you won’t come home starved. You can, of course, eventually sign up for a gym membership, but remember food comes first.

If you continue to subscribe to the mainstream mantra of deprivation (high-carb and low-fat) and excessive exercise you will always lose the battle – it’s inevitable. The insulin perpetually floating around in your system will not let you lose any weight no matter how much you exercise because that’s its principal role in your body – to get rid of the blood glucose – insulin will direct it to the muscle and liver glycogen to be used as energy later, but those can only store a limited amount of it, the rest will be converted into fat and deposited on your belly, thighs and butt. However if, on the other hand, you continue in the vain of low-carb and low-fat – the fitness industry’s quick fix for losing weight – you will sooner or later break and eat everything in sight because one can only starve their bodies for so long until it all goes to hell.

I leave you with this little 15 minute video to really peak your interest in starting with the right tools in the fight against the scale – food and use exercise for other purposes.

 


¹ I encourage you to read about this phoney research in a brilliant book by Nina Teicholz The Big Fat Surprise. (back to top)

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Measuring progress

In my previous post I told you about some of the physical, emotional and mental effects of eating a diet that is high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. This can be very subjective and one could argue that they experience the same without having to lower their carb consumption. If that’s you, more power to you – I’m not here to change everybody’s WOE. I’m here to show you what works for me.

Aside from the feel good aspects of this diet I am also experiencing more tangible and measurable effects of having reduced my carb intake to about 30-50g a day and increasing my fat consumption. I’ve started measuring the production of ketones in my body. What are ketones you ask? Let me explain…

When you switch your fuel from carbohydrates to fat by consuming below 50g of carbohydrates per day and increasing your intake of fat to meet your expenditure goals, your body will no longer have the ability to breakdown carbs to create glucose for energy. Instead, your body will start breaking down fats for energy and the byproduct of this breakdown is what’s called ketone bodies. There are 3 ways of measuring your ketone production:

Urine Ketone Strips ( measure acetoacetate )
Blood Ketone Monitor (measures beta-bydroxybutryate (BHB))
Breath Ketone Analyser (Ketonix) (measures acetone which is made from a breakdown of acetoacetate)

Urine Ketone Strips in my experience have proven useless as they barely registered any ketones in my urine at all. I only started using them about 2 months into my diet and there is a possibility that if I had used them at an earlier stage of my ketosis I might have been able to register some ketone production. The reason for this is the fact that the type of ketones (acetoacetate) that one can measure in urine are the ones that the body has no need for so it excretes them – so called  “wasted” ketones. In other words, if ones diet is extremely high in fat and the body breaks down that fat to produce ketones some of them will be used by the body for brain function and energy, but if there is too much of them (ie. more than needed to fuel your body) they will be eliminated via urine. Moreover, if one has been following the LCFH diet for an extended period of time the body becomes very efficient at using its ketones and does not have an abundance of “wasted ketones” to release. Hence, my poor results with measuring urine ketones.

Blood Ketone Monitor has given me a better result as I have registered 0.6 mmol/L of blood ketones. However, I am not able to do any type of analysis of my blood ketones because I’ve only measured one time so far. The trouble with measuring blood ketones is that, while it is the gold standard for accurately measuring ketone levels, it is also the most expensive. Or maybe we are seeing some sort of cause and effect here – because it is a gold standard it is also the most expensive (after all Big Pharma is after your money). The monitor itself is not very expensive, in fact if you live in Canada most manufacturers will send it to you for free (I got mine free from Abbott), but what will drain your wallet if you want to measure regularly are the strips. The cheapest I have been able to find them was on Well.ca  – a box of 10 will run you 25.99$ + economy shipping of 5.95$ or express shipping of 14.99$ (free shipping only starts at 29$) – so one test will cost you 3.30$. Helpful hint to save money is to buy 2 in one order and you will shave off the cost of shipping and one test goes down to 2.59$ – still pretty steep. So personally I will not be measuring blood ketones regularly, but only at times when I know I have been 100% adherent to the diet and have not been using any sweeteners in my food. But here is my result:

This is my one and only ketone and glucose measurement to date. As you can see from the picture below, the ketone reading of 0.6mmol/L puts me just at the start of nutritional ketosis.

 

 

This is the blood ketone range – the Nutritional Ketosis starts at about 0.5 mmol/L, it’s followed by Optimal Ketosis and Post-Exercise Ketosis. Starvation Ketosis and Ketoacidosis are not desirable. The former because the purpose of this WOE is not to starve but to eat to satiety and the latter only matters for those who along with high ketone levels have high blood glucose level due to unstable insulin levels (usually Type 1 diabetics)

Breath Ketone Analyser aka Ketonix has just arrived as an early Christmas gift from my partner in crime, so we started blowing right away. This device measures breath acetone and has a slightly different range than blood ketones and does not seem to correspond closely to the levels of blood ketones. As you can imagine, since the initial cost of the device is the only cost associated with this method, I’ve done quite a few tests already. The results have been all over the map, I’ve gotten readings between 4-14ppm which I am very happy with, to say the least. The highest readings have consistently been recorded after my morning workout which includes 45-60 minutes on a bike and 60 minutes weight training and the lowest readings happened at the end of the day.

These are the ranges of Ketone readings for a Ketonix as defined by the maker of this device. Nutritional Ketosis according to “Measuring Breath Acetone for Monitoring Fat Loss: Review“ by Joseph C. Anderson (Obesity (2015) 23, 2327–2334. doi:10.1002/oby.21242 ) is between 4-30ppm.
This is a reading of my ketones that was taken sometime in the afternoon. While I have seen people display their own readings that were much higher than this (going into the red zone) I believe that this is a pretty decent reading. I don’t subscribe to chasing the ketones and trying to achieve the highest reading possible. After all, you want your body to be utilising them, not producing an overabundance of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today 3-4 hours after a morning fasted workout the reading shows above 12ppm.

 

And this is a snapshot of my ketone readings so far. As you can see it seems to be all over the place, hitting low and high notes depending on my activity level and how much fat I am consuming.

Up until now I didn’t have any tangible results other than feeling physically, mentally and emotionally better than I have ever felt during my high-carb days – I couldn’t really tell if I was doing this right. These ketone numbers – even though many would argue are completely unnecessary – do give me some sort of validation. Both, myself and my partner are in it knee deep and once we started measuring ketones we’ve entered into a  “ketone competition” with each other where we both want to outdo the other person. While the competition is very innocent I do think it is a healthy competition to have because the bottom line is, each of us wants to eat optimally for this WOE and what can be better than two people making sure they eat well so that they can be healthier than the other one? If you ask me, this is an ultimate thing in any relationship, since usually couples tend to trip each other up rather than be the motivating force for each other.

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Chinese Spice Pork Meatballs

I’ve been busy writing informational posts lately and almost lost sight of the fact that this is a food blog after all. So, to get your creative juices stirred I offer you this simple but very delicious meal composed of pork meatballs, Nupasta (low carb pasta alternative that had 6g of carbs which are all dietary fibre) , green beans, roasted garlic and grape tomatoes all in a spicy tahini sauce.

Chinese Meatballs over a low-carb Nupasta with herbs, roasted grape tomatoes and green beans.

 

Chinese Meatballs over a low-carb Nupasta with herbs, roasted grape tomatoes and green beans.
Chinese Meatballs over a low-carb Nupasta with herbs, roasted grape tomatoes and green beans.

Chinese Spice Pork Meatballs
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Entrée
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Delicious perfectly keto friendly meal
Ingredients
  • 1lbs Ground Pork
  • 1 Egg
  • 3tsp Chinese Spice
  • 3 Pickles
  • 2 Celery Sticks
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Pepper
  • 1tbs Butter
  • 2 tbs Rice Vinegar
Instructions
  1. Finely chop celery and pickle and add to ground pork. Integrate all spices and the egg into the mixture.
  2. Form small meatballs with your hands.
  3. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan and place your meatballs into the pan. Make sure there is enough space in between the meatballs, don't crowd them.
  4. Turn each meatball once it has browned a bit.
  5. Turn down the heat, add rice vinegar and let sit covered for about 5 minutes.

 
These beauties were on sale at Dominion today. For a tray of the quantity in the picture I paid 99 cents so I dare say it was a steal! I cut some of them in half and some of them were left whole. I laid them out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, sprayed them with coconut oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper and some pesto herbs and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1h, checking every 15 minutes to toss them around.
Once I had some ground work done, it was such an easy and quick meal to assemble. My meatballs were made over the weekend and were waiting in the fridge for an opportunity to grace my plate and today was the day.

 

When I was trying to decide what type of vegetables to add to my meal, these two were a “no brainer”. Pasta is usually served in some type of tomato sauce, but since I had none and was not going to settle on a store bought type, roasted grape tomatoes were an easy alternative.  And green beans… well you can never go wrong with green beans and they added a beautiful splash of contrasting colour to my dish.

 

Meatballs getting fried in butter fat.

 

And that’s what they looked like before I turned them over. You can see pieces of pickles and celery sticking out. They added a beautiful crunch to the meatballs.

To make this meal even more scrumptious I tossed the pasta in my Spicy Tahini Sauce that I also made over the weekend. Yes, my weekends are still productive because I do enjoy having some ready to go things in the fridge that I use as needed throughout the week. Those things are usually flavour enhancing items, like this off the hook delicious Spicy Tahini Sauce.

Spicy Tahini Sauce
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dressing
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Sauce can be used for pasta dishes or salads or as dipping sauce.
Ingredients
  • 8.4tbs Tahini
  • ½ cup Water
  • 4.2tbs Olive Oil
  • 2tbs Coconut Puré
  • 2tbs Lemon Juice
  • 2tbs Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • ½tsp Salt or more to taste
  • ½tsp Cumin
  • 1tsp Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Process all ingredients together in a food processor.
  2. Add more water to get the desired consistency.
  3. Put in a jar and store in the fridge.
  4. You might find the sauce will thicken in the fridge, so you can add more water prior to use.

 
This sauce/dressing has many different applications – don’t ever limit your culinary experiments because somebody labels something a certain way. This sauce goes well in Nupasta, but you can also use it in coleslaw or other salads.

 

This jar will last me quite a while – it is very potent so you don’t need a lot to add some flavour.

And that’s a wrap for a very quick and delicious meal that awaited my other half today. He was quite pleased with it as he had not taken any lunch with him. And what’s even better, he said he felt OK without food throughout the day – that’s what being in ketosis will do to you, because you are accessing your bodyfat for fuel.

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