Keto Recipes, Recipes

Keto Chicken Salad

Happy New Year’s Eve!

After the holidays many folks look to refocus their nutrition and clean up their diet. The Keto diet is booming right now, everywhere I turn I see another ad in my feed about Keto. If you are looking to try Keto, my biggest advice is to do your research and listen to your body. Keto doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s my belief that if done properly it can help many folks. I’ve certainly experienced many improvements personally. If you choose to embark on Keto, I’ll be posting a number of recipes in the coming weeks along with a 3 day free meal plan! This will be rolled out when me and my friend Andie over at  Our Radiant Life embark on a new podcast! On the podcast we will be discussing a number of health topics, but initially we will focus on women and Keto! SO excited! More details to come…

I’m always looking for a quick and easy lunch meal that I don’t have to spend a lot of time prepping. This one is just that!

Here is meal planning at its easiest: Get yourself a rotisserie chicken for dinner, serve it up with some low carb veggies – my go-to is sauteed kale or Swiss chard with garlic and a large dollop of tahini at the very end to create a “creamy” green with lots of good fats. The greens pair great with the roasted chicken.

THEN, this is where the quick lunch comes in – take some of the extra chicken meat (I usually eat one of the thighs/leg for dinner and grab the other for this meal) and turn it into chicken salad. One thigh/leg combo usually amounts to 4oz of skin and chicken meat. Throw this chicken salad together, divide up the portion and you have 2 lunches for the week! You could of course use the breast meat as well; you will just have a little lower fat quotient in that case. But you could compensate by adding more mayo and making it extra creamy!

I usually serve this up on romaine lettuce leaves, but you could definitely use a low carb wrap of any kind – butter lettuce, collard green leaf, coconut wraps or my personal favorite, if not doing lettuce, is the almond flour wraps by Siete.

Serve the wraps with a side of cucumbers and/or carrots – maybe even a side of some guacamole for dipping?! Yes please!

Keto Chicken Salad

Print Recipe Card:  KETO CHICKEN SALAD_recipe card

Keto Recipes, Recipes

Almond Flour Keto Pancakes

So I’m 3 months in and still loving the Keto lifestyle. My energy is still great, cravings at bay, digestion on par and hormonal imbalances seems to be trending in the right direction (planning to get some testing done soon to confirm). Win-win-win. I feel really in tune with my body and I’m happy that things seems to be jiving!

Saturday mornings in my house are for pancakes! My former go-to pancake recipe uses oats as the base. They are super yummy and I still make them for my family. However, I was on the hunt for a lower carb option that I could enjoy while Keto. I first tried a packaged product: Lakanto Low Carb-High Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix. Its a great mix, and the pancakes cooked up well, but I’ve been trying to stay grain free (these are gluten free but not grain free) and so I went on a quest to create my own “keto pancake”. This one is super simple and very quick to throw together (just as quick as a mix actually). I usually top with some coconut butter, almond butter and/or a drizzle of the Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup. I dont make any money promoting Lakanto products, but I do enjoy them and they are very Keto friendly. I hope you enjoy these pancakes as much as I do. I usually serve them up with a side of sugar free, preservative free bacon! Yumm! The perks of being Keto!

Good Morning!

Print recipe card: Almond Flour Keto Pancakes

Keto Recipes, Recipes

Thai Peanut Chicken – Keto Friendly

My last post discussed my current experimentation with the ketogenic diet and trying to stay on it while backpacking. I’m 6 weeks in now and this way of eating feels so good to me that I’m not sure Ill ever got back to all of the carbs I ate previously! I feel like I have to put the disclaimer in here that points out that this might not work for everyone. Since every body is different, its clear that not one diet will work for everyone, but are some of the changes that I’ve experienced on the Keto diet:

  • Improved energy (big time!)
  • Improved digestion
  • Thinking more clearly – No more foggy brain
  • Clear skin
  • Improved mood
  • No more hunger roller coaster (I used to need to eat every 2-3 hours, now I barely snack between meals)

Also, I want to point out that I don’t follow a “strict” keto diet. I have days where I eat MANY more carbs than the traditional keto macros recommend and probably do this 2-3 times a week; However, when I test my ketone levels the next day (via a blood monitor) I’m still ketogenic. And most importantly, I still feel good! I basically just try to keep the fat up, the carbs down and eat food that tastes good. I hate tracking macros, so I only do it occasionally to see where I’m at.

So, I’ve been experimenting with my go-to recipes to make them keto friendly. I like a good peanut sauce and so here is one that turned out great and the macros ended up falling in line with a keto approach: Fat – 62%, 25g  Protein – 28%, 25g  Carbs – 10%, 9g

Meal prep tip: I recommend either buying 1-2 rotisserie chickens for the week, making a Crock Pot Chicken, or cooking a large batch of chicken thighs on a Sunday to have on hand for easy dinners and lunches. The recipe below calls for spaghetti squash. I also typically roast 1-2 squash varieties on a Sunday night and keep it in the fridge for easy sides for me and the family.

THE WHAT:
STIR-FRY INGREDIENTS
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 Medium white or yellow onion - chopped
4-5 stocks bok choy - chopped
1-1/2 - 2 cups chopped green beans
1 cup cauliflower
1 Tablespoon finely diced ginger
1-1/2 cloves finely diced garlic
2 cooked de-boned chicken thigh/legs (skin on is best for keto)

SERVE OVER
Roasted Spaghetti Squash (for a higher carb day)
OR: Kelp Noodles (I like Sea Tangle brand)

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Fresh cilantro
Sesame seeds 

SIMPLE PEANUT SAUCE
In small bowl, whisk together the following
1 Tablespoon peanut butter (almond butter could work well too)
1 Tablespoon Tahini
1 tsp coconut aminos
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (found in Asian section, or just some red pepper flakes) - optional
1/4 tsp finely diced ginger 
1/2 clove finely diced garlic 
1 Tablespoon MCT oil (or sesame oil)
3 Tablespoons water (add water as you whisk to desired thickness)

THE HOW:

    1. Add coconut oil to a hot large pan or wok and allow to melt.
    2. Add onion and saute until translucent.
    3. Except for the cooked chicken, add the remaining “Stir-Fry Ingredients” to the pan, stirring or tossing every 2-3 minutes until crisp but cooked.Thai Chicken (8)
    4. Add the chicken and allow to warm (1-2 minutes).
    5. Top either the kelp noodles (lower carb option) or the spaghetti squash (slightly higher carb option) with the stir-fry, the peanut sauce, and desired toppings.Thai Chicken (13)

SERVES 3
(great for a family of 2-3: either serve it all, or have a serving left for a weekday lunch)

ENJOY!

Random Thoughts

Ketogenic Backpacking

Well hello there! Its been over a year since my last post. Those who are still following this blog, I bet you thought I was a gonner! 🙂
Nope, just trying the juggle it all: career, house, child, husband, pets, fitness…along with trying to self-experiment on different eating styles to address some hormonal imbalances.

There, I said it, after childbirth I got way out of wack! I think it happens more than women care to admit – or even realize. But its a real thing and I’m bound the determined to figure out how to heal holistically and without hormone therapy. I wont go into all of the details, but Ive been working with an Environmental Medicine (similar to Functional Medicine) Doctor who has helped me improve my symptoms dramatically. I’m still struggling to figure out the last nagging symptoms, but its SO much better. Something I’ve been experimenting with lately (a month) is the Ketogenic Diet. Keto for short; is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet that stabilizes blood sugar and forces your body into using fat for energy instead of glucose/sugar. I was already on a no-sugar diet (along w/ some other restrictions) while working with my Doc, so I thought, why not, Im kind of there already. So I bought the blood monitor, tweaked my macros (and tracked them for a couple of weeks) and found that my body easily went into ketosis. There is a ton of research going on right now around the ketogenic diet for diabetes and cancer treatment. It has a long history as a known treatment for adolescent seizures (started in the 1920’s). Without going into more details than most of you care to hear…it can really benefit the body in a lot of ways. If you want to learn more, I learned a ton from Dom D’Agostino, Ph.D. in his recent interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast (#994).

Due to the hormone imbalances, I try to stay on the very mild side of ketosis because going too deep can work against the very thing Im trying to improve. While I dont think this is for everyone, its really really feeling good to me. I thought my energy was decent before, but its back, really back! Im thinking more clearly and motivated to get back to blogging and doing more with my passion for nutrition and food!

Since going Keto, I had a few physical endurance events – a 50 mile charity bike ride, and two overnight backpacking trips with the most recent one covering over 12 miles in less than 24 hours (with a ~25 lb pack). I was feeling so good on Keto, that I really wanted to try and stay in ketosis, so I had to rethink how I packed for my ride and overnights. I googled keto backpacking and found some ideas, but I thought Id share my approach and how I felt.

Before hitting the trail, I ate some homemade Keto protein balls. I loved the taste, but they got VERY soft after they warmed up out of the fridge, and would be way too messy for the trail. I think Ill experiment with one that is good at room temp. But a great “fat bomb” (its a keto term for a high fat low carb treat/snack-more on that later) is perfect for pre-hiking calories. After 2 of those babies and I hiked hard for two hours and didn’t feel hungry at all.

Dinner:
Given that I was just super active and that I try to have 2-3 ‘higher carb’ days a week, I packed a small snack sized bag w/ roasted red potatoes. I added that into my reusable silicone bag (Stasher bags are awesome) along with a pouch of sustainable tuna, raw kale, 2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes, and a handful of pine nuts. I added a quarter cup of boiling water to the bag and closed it up for 10 mins to heat everything. I then stirred in a pouch of mayo and a 1/2 pouch of coconut oil. YUM! I wish I had taken a photo, but it was totally dark by then! Worked great and left me totally satisfied. Night night!

Breakfast:
Earlier in the week, I made a batch of Keto-friendly Paleo Coconut Cacao Nib Granola. I made a flax egg to sub the egg in the recipe (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water soaked for 10 mins) and sired in two packs of stevia powder for their recommended sweeteners and it was fantastic! I ate about 1/2 a snack size baggie of granola and a small green apple with my green tea matcha latte (w/ coconut oil of course) and I was set to hike!

Snack:
About 4 miles in I got hungry and snacked on my new favorite beef sticks. Mighty Bar makes some tasty low carb bars. A bit salty, but on a hot day, I needed the sodium anyway, so it hit the spot!

 

Post-Hike:
I ate a pouch of my new favorite almond butter pouches with some flax seed crackers and some of my mixed nut medley. This held me over until I got my “real” lunch 2 hours later.

 

 

For a late lunch I chowed down on some beef brisket and slaw. A few hours later, I checked my ketone levels and I was still at 0.3 mmol/l, which is still mild ketosis. Ive been floating between 0.3 – 0.5 mmol/l with the goal of not going any deeper than 0.5 mmol/l.

Considering the distance, I felt WAY less hungry during and after the hike than I previously would have (prior to becoming keto adapted). I felt strong and had a steady energy. Hiking is a perfect exercise for keto since its steady state and not high intensity. Id like to experiment with some high intensity training and keto as I go into some winter weight training. Ill keep you posted!

Clean Eats, Recipes

“Creamy” Red Sauce

I’m not a big red sauce person but was really in the mood for something different on my pasta. I knew of a great vegan “cheese” sauce recipe so I was inspired to tweak it and created this “creamy” red sauce. I made it with pantry staples so it was easy and quick to throw together. Plus, the flavor really surprised me. It truly felt like I was eating a dairy-based creamy red sauce and it completely tricked my taste buds.

This would be great over my Pasta with Veggies & Chicken recipe!

You need a high speed/powerful blender, and a couple of specialty ingredients such as nutritional yeast and miso paste, but once you have these items in your pantry you can use them in a number of ways. For example, anytime you want to add a “cheesy” flavor to something without adding diary, nutritional yeast is a great substitute. I sprinkle it over my pasta like parmesan, top popcorn with it (yum!), and add it to sauces to add richness. Miso paste can add a nice salty component to Asian sauces, or you can simply add a spoonful to a cup of hot water for a nutritional broth or soup.

THE WHAT:
1/2 diced red onion
2 cloves garlic (diced)
2 Tablespoons EVOO 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
 
2 handfuls (appox 1/3-1/2 cup soaked raw cashews)
14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons miso paste (I used red, but any would do)
  1. Fill a mug 3/4 full with water and microwave for 1 -1.5 minutes then place raw cashews in hot water and let soak while you prep the blender.
  2. Sautée the first four ingredients in a small skillet on low to medium heat until onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic (you can add it at the end if you start out with too high a heat).
  3. While sautéing, add the last three ingredients to the blender.
  4. Add the sautéed ingredients to the blender.
  5. Drain the soaking cashews and add cashews to blender.
  6. Blend all ingredients until super creamy and smooth.
  7. In my Vitamix I blended it approx. 2 minutes which also warmed the sauce so I didn’t have to transfer it to a pot to heat it.
  8. Sauce will keep in fridge for a week, or it can be frozen and used later.

    Serves 4-6

ENJOY!