#fancykitchenlife

The pace of life has slowed down for me this past month.  My youngest child is in full time kindergarten and my 9 year old is back in school full time (after spending months recovering and out of school from topical steroid withdrawal).

I’m a stay at home mom with no kids at home!

My husband likes it because I make him food and coffee.¬† My dog likes it because he’s the recipient of my misplaced baby fever longings.¬† But I’m getting bored and restless.

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We’re codependent, it’s borderline weird

So when I wandered into a Williams Sonoma like a mindless moth drawn to a flame last weekend I happened to see that they were hiring.¬† I thought, yes!¬† I love this place.¬† Never bought anything here because we can’t afford it but I love the¬†idea of¬†fancy kitchen stuff.¬† Shiny espresso machines from Italy and condiments that cost more than my shirt!

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Strussed Up

So I applied on a whim for a part time position.¬† I went in for an interview today and got the job!¬† I’ll get to interact with other adult humans and have a reason to look presentable 3 times a week!

My sad, codependent dog will be heartbroken but I’m excited!¬† I’ll still try to check in everyday with fun facts, hacks and blithesome updates!

Anyways, much love all.¬† I hope your weekend was great! ‚̧

 

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A Tale of Two Soups

Here in Minnesota winter is stretching on and on… this is my current view.¬†20180203_121256.jpg

Ice, flurries, and air temp of 12 degrees F.

One thing that I love to do on cold, crummy days is make a huge batch of homemade soup.¬† It’s healthy, it’s delicious, it’s a clever way to get vegetables into my little angels (cough*brats*cough)…

I usually stick with the local favorite, chicken & wild rice soup.¬† It’s so good there is absolutely no need to try anything else.¬† Plus my kids love it.¬† This stuff is manna from Heaven.¬† Seriously.

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Those little blacks things aren’t bugs, ya’ll.¬† That’s Minnesota Wild Rice!

Don’t drool, you’re embarrassing yourself.

Well, the soup, wonderful as it is, is NOT keto-friendly with the big golden hunks of potatoes, carrots and a flour roux.

So this morning I made soup for my hyperactive little darlings and a low carb soup for myself as well.¬† It’s Saturday so I can ignore my kids and putter around in the kitchen in peace for two hour stretches while my husband gets to deal with, er, enjoy quality time with them…

I split up the chicken stock I had made overnight into two pots.¬† It’s super easy to make stock.¬† You just cook a whole chicken, debone it, and cook the bones, giblets, and neck in your crockpot (covered with water) overnight on low.¬† It’s one economical way to wring every bit of flavor and nutrition out of a poor little chicken.¬† You can eat the chicken with a side for dinner one night, then turn the leftovers into soup the next!!¬† That’s a lot of meals out of one $5-7 dollar chicken.¬† Stock is also super easy to make, a delicious base for soup, and incredibly¬†healthy.

So getting back to my tale… in my smaller stock pot I tossed some broccoli florets and diced asparagus into my broth on medium heat.¬† In a separate sauce pan I melted 1/2 stick of butter along with a cup of heavy cream and the random leftover cheddar cheese I hunted down in my fridge (about 1 1/2 cups).¬† I brought it to almost boiling and whisked it into a delicious butterery, cheesey, low-carb “roux” for my soup.

I dumped it in to my stockpot along with some leftover chicken.¬† I added a good amount of salt, pepper and seasonings.¬† Sorry, people, I don’t really measure anything.¬† One of the great things about soup is that you can throw in just about anything and it comes out great!

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Seasonings that help the magic happen

I then let the flavors meld together for about 20 minutes while I made the¬†other¬†soup, the one with carbalicious veggies we won’t mention again… ūüėČ

Then voila! 20180203_121702.jpg

Hearty, rich warming soup that is both filling and delicious and gloriously low-carb!¬† You’ve got collagen from the stock, a bit of protein from that poor wrung-out chicken, fiber and nutrients from your veggies, and phyto-nutrients from the herbs.¬† One bowl will have about 475 calories, 40 grams fat, 21 grams protein and only 5.8 gram carbs.

Plus it warms the cockles and steels the soul against the long, dreary winter!

 

Keto Mocha Pots de Creme

I came across this¬†recipe¬†for the ultimate chocolate dessert, or Mocha Pots de Creme.¬† My first thought was, “YUM!” my second was “I can adapt this easily to make it keto-friendly!”

Chocolate?  Check.  Heavy Cream?  Check.

My version turned out with a strong dark chocolate and coffee flavor.  Which I love.  You could easily add more sweetener and omit the coffee, if desired.

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces baking (unsweetened) chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-5 tablespoons desired low carb sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp coffee, either instant or finely ground
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

First you’ll break up your chocolate in a medium sized glass bowl.¬† Add your coffee and salt.¬†20180201_173530.jpg

In a small saucepan combine the heavy cream, egg yolk, sweetener, and vanilla.  Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until it just begins to reach a boil. 20180201_173455.jpg

When it just starts to bubble dump it on top of the chocolate in the glass bowl. 20180201_170933.jpg

Let it sit for about a minute. Then stir. 20180201_173430.jpg

Scoop into glass ramekins or serving dishes of your choice and refrigerate until firm.  Lick the bowl.

Easy-peasy though it looks and tastes fancy-schmancy!

If you divvy it up into 4 servings you are looking at 400 calories (eat it after a light dinner!), 9.5 total carbs or 3.5 net carbs, and 37 grams fat of delicious, keto-friendly numminess! 20180202_081546.jpg

Where’s the fourth serving?¬† It never made it into a serving dish!

 

Hacking Your Bodyfat

Saying someone still has their baby fat is usually an insult.¬† But I’m going to tell you why it is actually a very good thing…

There are three distinct types of fat that we store in our bodies-

bodyfat

The white fat is the most common.  We need some to cushion our organs and keep us warm and healthy.  But an excess leads to unsightly bulges and decreased health in just about every area.  We all know this, right?

There is another kind of fat that we actually want to increaseРbrown fat.  We are all born with high amounts of brown fat as an adaptation to help us regulate body temperatures until we are able to generate heat through shivering. 11111brown fat

I actually saw a show where young parents and their baby were caught out in the cold for about two weeks.  They all survived but the parents lost their toes to frostbite.  The baby was totally fine, other than some dehydration.  Possibly due to the much higher amount of brown fat that baby had access to.

We all start out with abundant levels of brown fat, but this is one instance were if you don’t use it, you lose it.¬† Adults have far less brown fat, especially if they aren’t having to work to keep themselves warm on a regular basis.

Simply having brown fat torches calories.¬† But activating brown fat through exposure to cold annihilates calories.¬† Brown fat has been shown to gobble up glucose in the blood stream and even burn white fat to generate warmth.¬† In one study 12 young men sat in a cool, 63 degree F room for two hours a day.¬† Initially they burned an extra 108 calories.¬† But by the end of the study, 6 weeks later, they were burning an extra 298 calories!¬† Their bodies had adapted by converting white fat to beige fat.¬† Brown fat consumes, or burns, 5 times more energy than white fat.¬† By increasing your brown fat levels, you will be able to burn far more calories at rest.¬† You’ll be leaner with a faster metabolism!¬†¬†Brown fat is also packed with mitchondria, which we want for¬†optimal health.¬† In fact, brown fat is brown due to the high levels of mitochondria!

Exposing yourself (not that kind, if you get arrested for streaking, don’t blame me) to cold is just one way to increase brown or beige fat.¬† You want to be cool enough to feel it without being cold enough to shiver.

In the winter we keep our thermostat between 63-65 degrees.¬† At first it feels chilly but we get used to it quickly.¬† I usually just wear a t-shirt.¬† People who visit often complain and ask me how I’m not freezing.¬† But it feels comfortable to us and we keep our heating bill down.¬† Cool temps at night also lead to deeper, more restorative¬†sleep.

There are other ways you can increase your brown fat as well.  Exercise turns on genes that lead white fat conversion.  Deep sleep is a factor as well.  Drinking green tea also seems to play a part.  Getting outdoors more helps as well as reducing stress in your life.  Basically healthy practices we should all be doing anyways.  

But it could be as simple as turning down your thermostat and taking cool showers.¬† It’s worth it, I promise!!!¬†Hot_Cold-Shower-Therapy_-How-to-Enjoy-it-Why-its-Important

 

Mackin’ Macros

I’ve gone and forth a bit on this blog and there’s always temptation to go back and “fix” previous blogs to align with what I’ve learned along the way,¬†bbuuuttt since I want this blog to be on honest¬†chronicling of my keto “experiment” I’ll just let you all watch me make mistakes and change my mind on some things.

I’m a bit of a wino.¬† The 1-2 glasses a night kind, not the homeless with a shopping cart kind.¬† I tried to incorporate some wine here and there.¬† Just a 5 ounce glass of merlot (lowest carb wine) 4-5 times a week.¬† It made me gain back a bit of weight and stall out. ūüė•

I also was introducing more fibrous carbs, such as cauliflower, broccoli, etc.  Same noise there.  Progress flat-lined.

Xylitol messed up my insulin levels but I seem to do fine with my mix of ethyritol, stevia and monk fruit.  The three mixed together produces the best taste, IMO, while still having little to no impact on blood sugar or cravings.

So I scaled back my carbs again and cut out the wine and saw immediate progress.¬† I’m still eating just as much.¬† Yesterday I ate 1,900 calories.¬† My dinner was a hamburger topped with two slices cheese and a fried egg.¬† Not exactly what you’d think when you think “diet food”.¬† But it works.¬† I also ate a (delicious) ungodly amount of cream cheese and whipping cream.¬† I hit 81% calories from fat and only 18 grams of carbs.¬† Happy dance!

The “mabs” (mommy abs) are cutting up.¬† I still have some other trouble areas I’d like to shrink a bit more and then I’m going to slow my roll and figure out a healthy maintenance plan.

For anyone starting this plan I recommend weighing in every day to monitor your progress and find out what works the best for you.  Find the right balance in your macros and the weight should melt off effortlessly.  This is a great visual-Keto-Food-Pyramid-Ketogenic-Diet

Side benefits since I’ve been staying consistently in ketosis would be that I’m much calmer and patient with my kids.¬† I’m not getting snippy.¬† Every little thing isn’t bothering me.¬† Because I’m much more even-keel I’m feeling a greatly improved sense of confidence.¬† My skin also looks a lot better.

Funny side note, I’m facebook friends with a young lady who is a very vocal vegan.¬†tenor I saw a video she posted yesterday claiming that meat and dietary fat are the cause of diabetes and cancer.¬† It took a lot of willpower to refrain from commenting.

Live and let live!

 

“Fun” Bio-Hacks

Ok guys, if there’s one thing that attracts my interest it’s the idea of being able to “hack” into our biology to improve our health at the cellular level.¬† I’m really interested in preserving and even improving vitality and health with age.

You could say that the source of our life force; our energy and youth is the mitochondria locked in our cells.  They convert calories from food, heat from the sun and oxygen into energy, specifically the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  Like a tiny powerplant powering our bodies at the cellular level.  Anything we can do to improve our mitochondrial function is going to improve our health, vitality and even extend our lifespan!

One reason I’ve chosen the ketogenic diet is because it is¬†fantastic¬†for mitochondrial function.¬† Burning fat is a far cleaner process than burning carbs.¬† Anytime you are using glucose for energy, there is going to be glycation.¬† Glycation=free radicals.¬† Free radicals= aging, disease, decreased mitochondrial function.¬† A high carb diet is going to¬†accelerate aging at the cellular level.¬† Even if those carbs are coming from fruit or whole grains.¬† It’s all glucose to your body.¬† When you get into a state of ketosis your body is utilizing fat in place of glucose.¬† It’s an easy (ish…) way to dramatically slow the aging process.¬†¬†Ketosis and mitochondria

Another bio-hack is exposure to extreme temperatures.¬† It’s getting outside your comfort zone, literally.¬† We really like to be warm and comfortable in temperature controlled environments, don’t we?¬† But we could be missing out on the bio-boost we get from exposure to cold and even heat.¬† You can get crazy health¬†benefits¬†from even just blasting yourself with cold water in the shower.¬† Better immunity, increased circulation, improved body composition… Like these Siberian youngsters who play in the snow in swimsuits and never get sick.¬†1112

If you don’t have access to the tundra but still want to be hearty like a Siberian kid- you can get similar benefits from blasting yourself with cold water in your own shower.¬† It’s going to be unpleasant (understatement!) but it becomes easier with time.¬† It’s a “fun” and simple bio-hack that anyone can take advantage of.

Another “fun”….¬†1113 biohack is short bouts of extreme exercise.¬† Like 10-20 minutes of all out work that makes you feel like you might puke or pass out.

This tells your body that the weak mitochondria can just show themselves the door because they don’t have what it takes.¬† Weaker ones die to be replaced by beefier mitochondria.¬† It’s an intense shock to your system that will lead to forced adaptation¬†to halt aging (woohoo!) at that cellular level.¬† If you’re one that goes running or thinks you need an hour for exercise to count, consider the benefits of a HIIT or tabata style workout.¬† You can accomplish more in far less time!

One more pleasurable hack is using a sauna, especially after exercise.¬† A 20 minute sauna can dramatically increase¬†youth-boosting human growth hormone¬†by 140%.¬† Plus it’s a great way to have awkward conversations with sweaty strangers…

But anyways, hack on, people.  1114

 

 

 

 

Keto Recipes

Hey guys, so I tried making my first “fat bomb” recipe today…. and it was¬†the bomb.¬†

I’ve stalled a bit in my progress so I wanted to find ways to incorporate¬†more¬†fat and¬†less¬†carbs and protein.¬† You really want to shoot for 80% of your calories coming from fat to get the all the therapeutic¬†benefits of a keto diet.

So I tried making this vanilla cheesecake fatbomb recipe.  It was so good!  They suggest piping it into muffin cups but I suggest eating it straight out of the bowl by spoon!  This is the real, velvety taste of cheesecake mixed with the creaminess of whipped cream.  So good! 

I reduced the sweetener a bit because my mix is a bit sweeter then straight erythritol.  It was just sweet enough and the texture was great.  I put them in the fridge to firm up.

I also made¬†keto egg muffins.¬† I used 10 eggs to make 12 muffins.¬† I used diced ham and a heaping cup or so of cheddar cheese.¬† I also added about 4 tablespoons of melted butter to up the fat content.¬† I baked them for 20 minutes but next time I’d reduce that to 18.¬† Still, very good.¬† Much better cold, actually.¬† ¬†A great snack or quick breakfast!