Categories
Fat Loss Keto Nutrition Weight Loss

How Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss are Linked?

Apple cider vinegar has been connected to weight loss for many years when taken alongside a healthy diet. But how can you incorporate it into your ketogenic diet plan?

It’s not sufficient to cut out virtually every last carb from your diet and fill up on fats. Hence, people are consuming apple cider vinegar to boost their fat-burning potential.

The analysis shows that apple cider vinegar boosts ketosis. It is a metabolic state your body experiences when it burns fat for fuel in the loss of glucose from carbs.

Various studies have revealed that the Keto diet can lower blood sugar and insulin levels, boost metabolism, and burn fat. All of these contribute to weight loss.

Boosting your metabolism not only helps you burn more calories throughout the day. It can also assist you to burn more calories at rest.

Meanwhile, ACV can be fused into your diet by using it as an ingredient or adding a small amount to water daily. You should not consume it in concentrated form as it is a strong acid and can harm the tooth enamel.

It is so widespread because around 15ml of apple cider vinegar holds about three calories and virtually no carbs. This makes ACV ideal for those who are following the keto diet.

So should you begin supplementing your keto fat bombs with a shot of ACV?

First: Why is this even a thing?

Both the keto diet and ACV trends profess to affect fat-burning. The keto diet does because you’re deemed to cut carbs and load up on fats to go into a ketosis state.

Apple cider vinegar’s connection to fat-burning, however, isn’t entirely so reliable. A 2009 Agricultural and Food Chemistry study revealed that vinegar did turn on fat-burning genes on a cellular level. However, this is only evident in mice.

Another study published in the Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry journal revealed that taking 15 milliliters of apple cider vinegar per day for three months moderately lessened body weight and belly fat in 175 obese Japanese adults.

Still, those outcomes were not absolute, and more research needs to be done. It’s also kind of skeptical to swallow ACV on the keto diet. That’s because it is made of apples, which aren’t permitted in the Keto diet.

How is apple cider vinegar different from other vinegar?

One of the essential qualities of vinegar is its acetic acid content, and of all vinegar, apple cider vinegar carries the most.

Ordinary white vinegar is simply a diluted form of acetic acid. It is often measured up about 5%. This explains why different kinds of vinegar (with lower amounts of acetic acid) are not nutritionally effective.

The magic of acetic acid occurs when it is distilled during the vinegar fermentation method.

In apple cider vinegar, this is a rather long phase in which sugars are also processed. Apple cider vinegar is nutritionally potent because it carries little sugar and few carbs due to fermentation.

What does Acetic Acid do to your body?

Acetic acid is known to aid with numerous bodily functions. It promotes healthy cholesterol levels, cardiovascular rhythms, develops memory, detox the body, and boosts physical recovery.

One research found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed reduced blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes by up to 6 percent the next morning.

Acetic Acid and the Ketogenic diet

Researchers going back as far as the 1940s show that acetic acid possesses ketogenic qualities in fasting lab animals. Now, new research associates acetic acid and ketosis with mitochondrial (cellular) health.

The conjecture here is that when you’ve achieved ketosis, apple cider vinegar raises the number of mitochondria in your cells. This is made possible by stimulating a particular metabolic pathway named PGC-1 alpha.

This indicates that by adding apple cider vinegar to your diet after you’ve reached ketosis, you can develop your mitochondrial efficiency. This means your body creates more cellular energy, improving energy levels, and promoting keto clarity.

Apple cider vinegar boosts ketosis, which is ultra-important for all you keto fans out there, who intake tons of fat in your diet.

Go for the best ACV on the shelf

So, how do you get your hands on the most desirable bottle of apple cider vinegar? Look for the cloudiest, murkiest mixture you can find.

There’s a nutritional name for these cobweb-like substances floating in your vinegar – the “mother.” It is made of protein strands of healthy enzymes and probiotic bacteria produced during the fermentation process.

Get your daily dose of ACV

Some evidence recommends that drinking a small amount in the evening before bed can help lower morning blood sugars.

This can help you lose some weight, but if you want to boost weight loss results, it is recommended to drink it before meals throughout the day.

Usually, it is said that when taken before a carb-heavy meal, the vinegar can help to slow the rate of the stomach emptying. It can also prevent significant sugar spikes.

The shot-glass approach isn’t approved because it can damage the enamel on teeth. It is also bad for your throat and stomach.

Luckily, there are other means to up to apple cider vinegar intake.

Add apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water (2-10 oz) and swallow it like a tonic or tea. Feel free to add lemon, ginger, cinnamon, or turmeric to give your drink a little flavor.

You can also mix around 15ml of the condiment into the water and drinking it about 15 minutes before every meal. This will help to subdue appetite.

5 Apple Cider Recipes You Need in Your Life

Apple Cider Vinegar And Cinnamon

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup of water

How to Prepare

  1. Add the cinnamon powder to water and boil it.
  2. Let it cool. Add apple cider vinegar.
  3. Stir well and drink.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar cannot be drunk raw because of its strong and unpleasant taste. Cinnamon adds a nice and sweet flavor to the drink.

It also lowers blood sugar levels, reduces the risk of heart disease, and has many other powerful benefits that make it an irreplaceable part of anyone’s diet.

Apple Cider Vinegar And Fenugreek Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup of water

How to Prepare

  1. Soak the fenugreek seeds overnight in a cup of water.
  2. In the morning, add apple cider vinegar to the fenugreek water.
  3. Stir well and drink.

Why This Works

Fenugreek seeds raised metabolism and enhanced insulin sensitivity in rat studies.

Apple cider vinegar and fenugreek seeds present a great combination when it comes to losing weight. Moreover, the sweet-bitter taste of fenugreek seeds helps produce the ACV’s acidic taste a notch down.

Apple Cider Vinegar And Green Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon green tea leaves
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup of water

How to Prepare

  1. Heat the cup of water until it just starts to boil.
  2. Remove the pot from the flame and add the green tea leaves. Close the lid and let it steep for 3 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea into a cup and add the apple cider vinegar.
  4. Add a teaspoon of honey.
  5. Stir well and drink.

Why This Works

Green tea is rich in antioxidants that help lowers the toxin levels in the body. It also enables you to relax and promotes digestion and immunity.

Apple cider vinegar with green tea and honey is the perfect recipe to subdue your appetite and lose weight.

Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
  • Salt to taste

How to Prepare

  1. Toss all the ingredients into a glass jar. Shake it well.
  2. Drizzle it all over a healthy and crunchy salad.

Why This Works

Salad dressing holds a lot of invisible calories in the form of sugar, salt, and mayonnaise. Try this light dressing, which is pleasant, heart-friendly, and promotes fat loss.

You can add it to chicken, vegetables, mushrooms, tuna, or egg salad. You can also use it as a marinade.

Apple Cider Vinegar Healthy Snack Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate
  • 1 teaspoon chopped apricot
  • A bunch of baby spinach

How to Prepare

  1. Whiz all the ingredients.
  2. Pour into a glass and drink it.

Why This Works

Fruits and veggies are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and good carbs. They can also help reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and improve bowel movement.

If you want to snack, snack healthy. Add ACV to your smoothie to accelerate weight loss.

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Taste?

Because of its acid content, ACV tastes sour and vinegary. It has a rancid odor, and one of the major stumbling obstacles for people, initially, is the strong flavor of ACV.

However, slowly, it will become a portion of your healthy lifestyle, and you will drink it without blinking your eyes.

Apart from consuming apple cider vinegar as a concentrated liquid, there are apple cider (ACV) pills accessible on the market. Should you take them? Find out in the next section.

Should You Take Apple Cider Vinegar Pills For Weight Loss?

Always ask a doctor or dietitian before ingesting any pills or supplements.

Apple cider vinegar is an acquired taste, with many people shunning it and even giving it up altogether because they can’t take its intense flavor. Capsules give an alternative as you get all the benefits of the vinegar without the pungent taste.

However, they can be quite tricky with the amount of vinegar included in them. Always guarantee that you check the composition listed on the label.

Tips and Precautions

  • Organic, natural ACV is the best choice available. Always go for it over the processed varieties.
  • If you are taking ACV capsules or pills, check the consistency. Some medications are adjusted and have microscopic traces of ACV, which lessen its benefits.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of apple cider vinegar can contribute to hypokalemia. This implies your body is low in potassium, and this can lead to osteoporosis. It also impairs bone health by decreasing bone density. If you have osteoporosis, stay away from ACV.
  • Always ask your doctor before starting any new diet regimen. If your doctor has guided diuretics or medications for diabetes or heart disease, make sure to check if ACV will interact with any of them.
  • Drink ACV only after diluting with water. It has high acidic content, and mixing it with other liquids could damage the enamel on your teeth.
  • The recommended dosages will range from person to person. Make sure to check with your doctor or dietitian to see what runs for you.
  • Aerobic exercises supplement the weight loss outcomes of ACV and help improve your overall health.
  • If you drink the vinegar raw, i.e., undiluted, it can lead to an upset stomach, nausea, indigestion, and heartburn. The same employs consuming it in pill form, with additional symptoms of vomiting and a sore throat.

Can Drinking ACV on Keto Help Lose More Weight?

To be honest, the science isn’t there. But even if it were, ACV’s impacts on fat-burning would likely be pretty frustrating.

The overall impact is seemingly minimal, and it’s not the best focus. You can probably have the same result 50 times over if you go on a brisk walk.

Still, it’s not certainly a bad thing to add some apple cider vinegar to your diet. What’s important is that you match it with food instead of taking straight shots or diluting it in water.

Raw, unpasteurized ACV is fermented and carries probiotics, which we know has benefits, like developed gut health.

Final Thoughts

Following a Keto diet implies that your carbohydrate consumption is usually reduced to 50 grams a day.

Fats should substitute most of the cut carbs and deliver approximately 70 percent of your total calorie consumption.

This makes apple cider vinegar the ideal addition to a ketogenic diet. That’s because it carries virtually no calories or carbohydrates, so you will not have to track it.

Keto-friendly food covers eggs, poultry, fatty fish, meat, full-fat dairy, full-fat cheese, nuts, and avocados. These foods are all high in fat and low in carbohydrates.

You can also add apple cider vinegar onto meals, and around one to two tablespoons goes a long way on meats and vegetables, and it won’t have a powerful flavor.

It can create an excellent marinade base while also giving your body weight loss benefits.

ACV has no equal tool to combat weight loss, enhance your immunity, and enhance your overall health. Pair it with the 8-hour diet or intermittent fasting, and you may begin seeing results soon.

Make sure to make ACV a part of your diet after discussing it with your doctor and dietitian.

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition

Perfect Keto Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

It seems like everyone honors Saint Patrick’s Day, whether they are Irish or not. With all the drinking, dinners, and green-tinted desserts floating around, it can be challenging to stick to your Keto diet. 

But don’t worry, you do not need the luck to follow your diet plan. That’s because we have rounded up some Keto-friendly recipes that you can whip on St. Patrick’s day.

Keto Creamy Meatballs Recipe with Fried Cabbage

This keto creamy meatballs recipe is delicious. Plus, you can serve these to your whole family.

You can also make recipe Paleo or on AIP (autoimmune protocol) and experience sumptuous Keto meatballs. And most people won’t even recognize just how healthy of a meal this even is!

Of course, you can also increase this recipe to make a bigger batch for the whole family or a dinner party.

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 12 oz (340 g) ground beef (or ground turkey or ground chicken or ground lamb)
  • 2 Tablespoons (20 g) garlic powder
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) coconut oil to cook with

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, finely diced (use beets for AIP)
  • 2 Tablespoons (2 g) cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil (if needed)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut cream (from the top of a refrigerated can of coconut milk)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)

For the fried cabbage:

  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)

How to Make

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and shape them into 1-inch balls.
  2. Add the 4 Tablespoons of coconut oil to a very deep pan/pot on high heat and liberally brown the meatballs on all sides. Place on a plate to rest.
  3. In the same pot, melt the 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (if additional oil is needed), add the onions and fry until lightly browned. Add in all the other sauce ingredients except for the coconut cream.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the cream. Cook until the cream is bubbling and return the meatballs to the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. When meatballs are 5 minutes away from being done, melt 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil in a large hot pan. Throw in the cabbage and fry until the cabbage has softened. Season to your preferred taste.
  6. Serve the fried cabbage alongside the meatballs in sauce.

Homemade Corned Beef with Low Carb Mustard Sauce

Corned beef is an excellent example of turning a cheap cut of meat into a delicious and hearty meal.

Cooked just right in a pressure cooker, corned beef comes out soft and delicious.

This corned beef recipe is ideally served with a white sauce or, in this case, our low-carb mustard sauce.

Ingredients 

Corned Beef

  • 4.2-pound Pickled Beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Onion Large Dice
  • 3 cloves garlic Cut in half
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Thyme
  • 1 Carrot Large Dice
  • 1 tbsp Whole Peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 34 oz Beef Stock

Low Carb Mustard Sauce

  • 2.4 oz Butter
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1.5 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tbsp Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 pinch Salt 

How to Make

Corned Beef

  1. Rinse and dry the pickled beef with a paper towel. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. In your pressure cooker, saute the carrot, onion, thyme, and garlic in olive oil for 4 minutes over high heat.
  3. Add the peppercorns, red wine vinegar, and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the beef and pour over the beef stock. You may need to add a little more water or less stock depending on the size of the beef and size of the pressure cooker. You want the beef to be only just covered.
  5. Bring the stock up to a simmer and fix the pressure cookers lid tightly to the base. Continue cooking on high heat until your pressure cooker begins to release steam, then drop the heat to low and leave to cook for 2 hours – or 1 hour per 1kg/2.2lb.
  6. After 2 hours, turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes to release the pressure slowly. Carefully open the pressure valve on the lid to release any excess pressure, and take off the cover.
  7. Gently remove the corned beef. If you have a large piece, we recommend using a set of tongs to grip the meat from the top and a wooden spoon or lifter under the bottom to support the weight.
  8. Slice up your corned beef and enjoy. We discard the cooking liquid and vegetables as the pot’s contents are very salty. It can be strained and used to flavor soups if you desire.

Low Carb Mustard Cream Sauce

  1. Mix the butter and mustard in a small pan over low heat
  2. Add the cream and mix. Initially, the butter and the cream will stay separate but will come together as the heat rises.
  3. Be very careful not to boil the sauce, as it will not combine. As the cream reduces, the sauce will thicken. You want to reduce the cream by one-half.
  4. Add the chopped parsley, pepper, and salt, and drizzle over the corned beef to serve.
  5. We recommend serving it with our Keto Cauliflower Colcannon.

Slow-Cooked Corned Beef Brisket and Roasted Cabbage

Corned beef is exceptional when you brine it yourself, but you can spare yourself a lot of time by buying one that’s already brined.

Sadly, many pre-brined briskets have unwanted ingredients. But it’s a good thing that US Wellness Meats has a perfectly pre-brined corned beef brisket. 

It does have a tiny bit of xylitol in it, but it is so minuscule that it shouldn’t have any impact on anyone, and it’s made from birch wood and not gross corn. If you don’t want to do that you could always bring your own and prepare it without sugar.

Ingredients 

Slow-Cooked Corned Beef Brisket

  • 2½ lb corned beef brisket
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 cup chicken or beef stock

Roasted Cabbage

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • salt and pepper to taste 

How to Make

Slow-Cooked Corned Beef Brisket

  1. Chop onion, carrot, and celery stalk coarsely and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Pour chicken stock over onion, carrot, and celery, and place corned beef brisket on top of veggies in the slow cooker.
  3. Place the top on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. That’s it!

Roasted Cabbage

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice head of cabbage into eight wedges and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Brush both sides with avocado oil and sprinkle salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste on both sides.
  4. Place cabbage wedges into the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through until you get nice crispy brown edges.

Note: Serve each dish with some slices of corned beef brisket, a cabbage wedge, and some of the vegetables from the slow cooker on the side. You can also choose to spoon the juices from the slow cooker over the sliced brisket because it’s incredibly divine.

Leek and Cauliflower Soup with Coconut Cream

Did you know that 100 grams of cauliflower only has two net grams of carbohydrates? Compared that to the same amount of white potatoes that have 15 net grams!

So, while potatoes are Paleo-approved, it’s still best to avoid them if you are watching your weight. The same thing goes if you have blood sugar problems or an autoimmune condition.

Moreover, cauliflower is one of those enchanting foods. Like coconuts, they are super versatile and can be in a ton of creative ideas to replace other foods.

For example, you can create creamy mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Food processed cauliflower florets produce excellent “rice.” Roasted cauliflower can be used as a fun popcorn option. And you can even use cauliflower to create flatbread!

Ingredients 

  • 1 large leek (approx 10 oz)
  • 1/2 cauliflower (approx 10 oz)
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream, warmed + 2 additional Tablespoons (30 ml) for drizzling
  • 3 cups chicken or bone broth
  • Salt to taste 

How to Make

  1. Cut the cauliflower and leek into small pieces.
  2. Place the cauliflower and leek into a large pot with the chicken or bone broth (or use a pressure cooker).
  3. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until tender.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables to create a smooth soup.
  5. Add in the coconut cream and salt to taste and mix well.

Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can take the vegetables out, let cool briefly, puree in a regular blender, and then put back into the pot.

Cabbage Ground Beef Stir Fry

Cabbage is excellent for digestion, so for paleo and keto dieters, this aligns with increased meat consumption.

Tomatoes are a part of this recipe, so there is a moderate watch out for people who have trouble with nightshades.

Nightshades, as may or may not be aware, can cause digestive difficulties for some people. If that’s you, then beware. Otherwise, enjoy this recipe fully as part of your diet plans.

Ingredients 

  • 3 Garlic Cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup yellow onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 jalapenos (de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 medium yellow or red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 12 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 medium-sized cabbage (finely shredded)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked sweet paprika 

How to Make

  1. Let the ground beef reach room temperature.
  2. Crush the garlic and mix well into the ground beef and half of the salt, pepper, and paprika. For best results, let sit for an hour.
  3. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet, add the onions, jalapenos, bell pepper, and salt. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until most of the juice has been absorbed for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Stir the meat into the pan and cook over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the cabbage, water, and half the cilantro and continue cooking over medium heat.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika to the desired level of seasoning and season from time to time as the dish cooks for about 15 minutes. The dish should be moist but not juicy.
  8. Serve with remaining cilantro.

Low Carb Lamb Stew

This soothing low carb lamb stew is made in the Instant Pot or slow cooker. Serve it with cauliflower rice!

A meat stew cooked in the slow cooker is one of those recipes that you think will be low carb but can be deceptively high.

This is usually due to the addition of starchy root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. Not every vegetable stands up to low and slow cooking, though, so you’re required to choose your alternatives wisely.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless lamb stewing meat
  • 8 oz turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 14 oz can of beef broth
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch xanthan gum, optional
  • chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to garnish

How to Make

  1. Add the lamb, prepared turnip, and sliced or quartered mushrooms to an Instant Pot or slow cooker bowl.
  2. Next, add beef broth, onion powder, garlic paste, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  3. Cook on high heat for 3 hours, or low heat for 6 hours (slow cooker setting if using the Instant Pot). Check for seasoning again and add more if needed.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lamb and vegetables to a serving dish, then spoon over some of the sauce.
  5. Garnish with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Note: If you wish for a slightly thicker liquid, whisk in a pinch of xanthan gum after you have removed the lamb and veggies. 

Leftover Corned Beef Casserole with Cabbage

This keto-friendly baked corned beef and cabbage casserole recipe is an excellent way to use up your leftovers. Moreover, this recipe fuses all the delicious flavors of St. Patrick’s Day into one super simple dish.

Ingredients 

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup low carb milk I used coconut milk in a carton
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ head cabbage cooked and chopped
  • 1 pound leftover corned beef cut into pieces and warmed
  • 4 green onions 

How to Make

  1. Cut cauliflower into florets and steam or boil until softened.
  2. Place cauliflower into a food processor with butter and pulse until mashed.
  3. Add milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to cauliflower and puree until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking pan. Fold in corned beef and cabbage.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 325°F for about 20 minutes or until heated throughout.
  6. Sprinkle with sliced green onion tops to serve.

Keto Matcha Fudge Fat Bombs

These Keto Matcha Fudge Fat Bombs are an excellent way to stoke ketosis! The ingredients of green tea matcha, MCT powder, coconut oil, and butter are a perfect “Fat burning” combination.

Keto matcha fudge fat bombs have a sharp white chocolate and vanilla flavor that pairs perfectly with green tea.

Ingredients 

  • 3.5 ounces cocoa butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 scoops matcha MCT powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence 

How to Make

  1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over low heat.
  2. Heat until the cocoa butter has melted. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  3. Pour the mixture into an 8×8 inch square cake pan, lined with parchment paper.
  4. Set in the fridge for 3 hours, or until firm.
  5. Cut into 24 pieces and serve.

Irish Soda Bread

Make it at least once a year, always around St. Patrick’s Day, and fall in love with how it slathers its crumbliness in good Irish butter like KerryGold.

It’s got a lovely crumb and had a certain mild sweetness. This year, however, your low-carb dreams of yummy soda bread slices for St. Paddy’s Day will be dashed. And don’t forget to remember the miracle of almond flour.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp sweetener
  • 1 oz raisins or currants
  • 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream, heavy cream, or half and half 

How to Make

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the dry ingredients and raisins and mix well, mixing in any clumps.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  4. Form an oval loaf on the skillet or pan and score the top in an X with a knife. Sprinkle with additional sweetener if you like.
  5. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown, and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow cooling for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once fully cooled, slice with a serrated knife and serve with good Irish butter.

Final Thoughts

In celebration of St. Patrick’s day, people will mark this special day with traditional Irish meals or add lots of green to their dinner table.

Making Irish meals Keto-friendly allows you to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without falling off the wagon. Hopefully, you’ve found these listed above recipes helpful and enticing.

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition Keto Reviews

Can Ketogenic Diet Relieve Depression?

There is no denying that the Keto diet is known to help with weight loss. But did you know that it is also believed to help alleviate depression?

The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet. This diet is commonly recommended among people who suffer from seizures and epilepsy.

Such, diet allows you to reach a state of Ketosis, wherein the body burns fat as body fuel instead of carbohydrates. This explains why the Keto diet has become popular among those who want to lose weight fast.

But because the diet can influence the brain and nervous system, it is also believed to affect someone’s mood.

This article reviews whether the Keto diet may alleviate or worsen depression. Read on to know what the science says and how you can leverage the Keto diet if you’re feeling down. 

Depression and Keto: What Science Says?

The Keto diet has been around for a long time. It was first introduced in the 1920s to help people with epilepsy.

Researchers discovered that higher levels of blood Ketones cause fewer epileptic seizures in patients. Thus, the Keto can reshape and change the chemistry of the brain.

Since depression and the brain are connected, researchers have examined the possibility of using Keto as a treatment for depression. And the outcomes are promising.

In one research, rats put on a Keto diet ran around more than a control group. The latter shows low physical activity, which is used as a marker of depression). Thus, the researchers concluded that rats on the Keto diet are less likely to show “behavioral despair,” akin to rats dosed with antidepressants.

In another research, 8-week-old mice exposed to the Keto diet in the womb but who ate a regular diet once born were less likely to be depressed or anxious. They are also more physically active than those who were fed a usual diet in utero and postnatally.

The brain volume of mice on Keto also differed from that of the mice fed a regular diet. The decisions suggest that the Keto diet can adjust the brain’s size, at least before birth.

Other research also shows that Keto affects brain structure. In one report, Keto raised the thickness of blood vessels in the brain. In another study, it was revealed that Ketones protect brain cells from injury.

How Keto May Affect Mood and Relieve Depression

The Keto diet exerts some positive impacts on the brain and nervous system. It seems to have beneficial effects for epilepsy and migraine, other seizure strikes, and Alzheimer’s dementia.

What’s more, some scientific proof supports using the Keto diet to help treat mood disorders. This includes depression, as the diet may positively influence your brain and nervous system in many ways.

Below are some of how a Ketogenic diet may lessen depression. However, note that much of the supporting study has been conducted in animals, and more human studies are required.

Stabilizes Energy Levels

If you’re used to eating oatmeal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch, then you’re probably accustomed to energy highs and lows.

High-carb foods create rapid spikes in blood sugar and just as rapid declines. Energy crashes alter your mood and make you feel anxious and depressed (it’s described as being “hangry” for a reason).

When your blood sugar starts to fall, your brain panics, thinking it won’t get more fuel to operate. This stress response can create depression or anxiety.

One research found that diabetic patients with fluctuating blood sugar levels exhibited higher rates of depression than patients with more constant blood sugar levels.

Ketones provide a critical source of energy for your brain since they’re metabolized quicker than glucose. Ketones give a longer-lasting, more stable source of energy.

And since your body knows it can also move into your fat stores for fuel, your brain doesn’t panic, thinking you’re running out of food.

Lowers Inflammation

When you turn to Keto, you’re turning your back on inflammatory, treated foods. This includes bread, cereal, and pasta that can harm the gut. 

Instead, you’re loading your plate with decent sources of protein, nourishing fats, and fresh vegetables. And this food can restore gut health and lower inflammation.

In one research, middle-aged people who ate a whole-food diet were less likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who don’t.

Consuming anti-inflammatory food is going to have a direct impact on your mood. Research reveals a connection between inflammation and depression:

  • Depressed people have immense levels of proinflammatory cytokines. These are molecules that the body discharges in response to inflammation.
  • People with cancer or autoimmune diseases show more excellent rates of depression. While it’s true that being sick can cause one to feel depressed, scientists think that the likely culprit is inflammation.

Keto Promotes Neurogenesis

The Keto diet can improve your rate of neurogenesis (how frequently you make new brain cells).

Why is this necessary for mood?

A profound rate of neurogenesis is linked to mood difficulties, including depression. A higher percentage, on the other hand, increases your emotional resilience. 

Diet is a crucial player in managing your rate of neurogenesis. Some foods reduce it down, while others speed it up.

A high-sugar diet (i.e., as a contrast to Keto) decreases your neurogenesis rate by spiking the insulin levels in your blood. Too much insulin diminishes all your organs, including your brain.

In one study, rats who ate a diet high in sugar and oxidized (damaged) fats exhibited diminished cognitive function after just two months. The section of the brain that was most involved was the hippocampus, where neurogenesis takes place.

Fat Feeds Your Brain

All that healthy fat that you intake on Keto feeds your brain, keeping your moods steady. Your brain is made up of approximately 60 percent fat, and it requires plenty of good fats to keep it running. 

Numerous researches confirm that omega-3 fatty acids can help overcome depression. You can find omega-3 in wild fish, grass-fed beef, and fish oils.

In one study, two varieties of omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA helped serotonin’s secretion. It is a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) that helps improve your mood. Low serotonin levels are connected to depression.

May Increase GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is another neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in managing stress, anxiety, and mood.

Low GABA levels have been connected to clinical depression.

Animal studies have discovered that following a Ketogenic diet may improve circulating levels of GABA. However, more research is required.

May Improve Mitochondrial Function

Mitochondria are cellular components that create the energy cells need to operate. Like producing small amounts of energy for the cell to function correctly, mitochondrial dysfunction has been involved in depression.

People with depression have lesser adenosine triphosphate levels (ATP). It is an energy-giving compound in the brain.

However, Ketogenic diets may make it easier to provide ATP in people with mitochondrial dysfunction.

May Decrease Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress pertains to cellular damage induced by free radicals. These are volatile compounds you’re exposed to in your everyday life, and they can harm cells if they build up in your body.

Oxidative stress is linked to numerous diseases and health conditions. Greater levels of this stress have also been seen in people with depression.

However, following a Ketogenic diet may increase oxidative stress markers, develop your antioxidant status, and help reverse some of the damage caused by free radicals. This can lead to enhanced depressive symptoms.

May Regulate Insulin Function

Insulin, a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels, may also play a role in depression and mood.

Some people, particularly those who follow a carb-laden diet, can develop insulin resistance. This occurs when the body doesn’t react to insulin as well as it should.

Insulin resistance is connected to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

However, following a Ketogenic diet, which restricts sugar and starch, can help you keep your blood sugar levels stable. This may also develop your insulin sensitivity.

How Keto may Cause Depression

On the other hand, the Keto diet may produce depressive symptoms or exacerbate depression in some people.

Keto can be hard to adjust to, and some general early symptoms of your body turning into Ketosis — identified as the “Keto flu” — can be challenging to control. Keto flu can include headaches, sleep disturbances, cramping, and fatigue.

However, signs occasionally manage if fluid and electrolyte intake is increased.

Although dealing with these symptoms may make you feel depressed.

You’re Not Eating Enough Nutrient-Dense Foods

It’s possible to catch Keto and still be living off junk food. It’s identified as “dirty Keto.” You follow the same analysis of fats, proteins, and carbs as regular Keto, but without being strict about counting your macros.

This means you can have a bunless bacon cheeseburger and zero-net carb soda for lunch.

Eating foods less in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes won’t do your mood any favors. Your body relies on nutrient-dense foods, especially high-quality protein and healthy fats. Doing so enables the body to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help support mood. 

If you don’t eat sufficient of these foods, your brain cells can’t interact with each other as effectively and may transfer the wrong signals. The outcome? Your performance sanctions, and you may feel anxious and depressed.

Inflammatory foods can also tilt the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. 

Your gut and brain are constantly interacting with one another (it’s known as the gut-brain axis). And studies show that a gut imbalance can lead to depression and a host of other diseases and conditions.

You Have Low Levels of Electrolytes

When you first start Keto, your kidneys begin to urinate more water as your body switches from burning glucose to Ketones for energy.

This flush of water estimates the climactic weight loss people often experience when they first go on a diet. However, the downside is that your body wastes valuable electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and salt.

Low levels of electrolytes have been connected to depression. It’s relatively simple to hack your electrolyte levels. Make sure you’re taking 2 to 2 ½ teaspoons of salt a day (Himalayan pink salt is best), and think of supplementing it with potassium (200-800 g a day) and magnesium.

Depression and Keto: A Sense of Isolation

Any diet that limits certain food groups can probably leave you feeling socially isolated, leading to depression.

When you meet your friends at an Italian restaurant and saw them all ordering pizza, you may feel left out. This sense of isolation can influence your mood.

Keto can have an impact on your socialization. And we all know how spending time with friends and family is crucial to our mental health.

5 Things to Do When Feeling Depressed Following the Keto Diet

It’s crucial to remember that there’s a difference between “feeling depressed” and having a depressive disorder.

It’s natural to feel sad sometimes, but if it’s affecting your capability to live your life normally, you should seek professional help.

If you feel that the diet itself makes you feel depressed because it’s excessively limiting, has unpleasant side effects, or is adding to social isolation, you should discontinue it.

Keto is not the only successful weight loss diet, and you can still lose weight by following other less-restrictive diets. But if you’re using the diet to control your blood sugar or epilepsy, you should discuss it with your healthcare provider for further guidance.

If you want to continue the diet, here are some approaches you can consider:

Get Support

Here’s the number one thing to consider about mental health: It’s not a field you want to navigate alone.

If you’ve begun feeling depressed while following a low-carb diet, it’s crucial to reach out for support. It can be from any of your trusted family members or a close friend, or a therapist.

A lot can trigger depression, and talking to someone can assist you in sifting through possible causes and drawing up a game plan.

Eat Low-toxin, Anti-inflammatory Foods

You want to concentrate on high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and lots of vegetables to boost your mood.

Perform Cyclically Ketosis

Cyclical Ketosis (aka carb cycling) requires carbo-loading one day of the week. The other six days, you stick with the regular low-carb Keto diet plan.

Supplementing healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and white rice once a week carries lots of perks, including improved mood. It’s easier to follow Keto when you can systematically satisfy your carb cravings and enjoy the occasional meal out.

Certain carbs, notably resistant starch, feed your good bacteria, and a balanced gut equals a balanced mood. 

Reap Mood-Boosting Supplements

Consider using mood-boosting supplements like zinc, glutathione, and l-tyrosine. An exceptionally potent supplement called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) improves the production of serotonin in the brain. This can help balance your mood and enhance sleep.

Wait Out the Keto Flu

If you’ve only newly transitioned to the Keto diet, your symptoms may be tied to the Keto flu. Setting out the first few days and making sure to drink plenty of fluids and supplement electrolytes will make the shift easier.

Final Thoughts

Keto is a recommended diet for weight loss and blood sugar management, but it was intended to treat epilepsy. It can also have other powerful impacts on the brain and may influence mood disorders.

There is an increase in evidence suggesting that the Keto may help with depression in specific ways. However, the limiting nature of the diet may leave some people feeling depressed.

If you’re diagnosed with depression, you should seek help from a qualified mental healthcare provider. The same thing goes when you’re considering following the Keto to help alleviate depression.

Categories
Keto Nutrition

Is Quinoa The World’s Healthiest Food?

These days, it appears that Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is growing in popularity. Wherever we turn, there are quinoa salads, Quinoa fried rice, and now even quinoa protein shakes.

Produced in South America thousands of years ago, Quinoa is called “the mother grain” by the Inca. Today, it is deemed a “superfood,” especially after the United Nations proclaimed 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa.”

But when and why did Quinoa become so big? What is it that makes this low-carb rice alternative so invaluable in the world of nutrition?

Quinoa has since kept buzz as one of the most famous health-food trends. But now, you might be wondering what it is.

We’re here to explain.

What is Quinoa?

According to the Whole Grains Council, Quinoa is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate. It is also considered as a whole protein since it holds all nine essential amino acids.

Most of this data is well known. But when it gets to whether Quinoa is whole grain or not, many people get bewildered. So, let’s clear this up.

Technically, the Quinoa we all know and enjoy is a seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plant. So no, it is not a grain. Whole grains (or cereal grains), like oats and barley, are described as seeds obtained from grasses — not plants.

But the way we eat Quinoa does match a whole grain. Because of this, the nutrition world views it as a whole grain. This explains why it is labeled as “pseudo-cereal.” That’s because it is prepared and consumed as a whole grain but are botanical outliers from grasses.

History

Quinoa has an abundant, incredible, and long history in the cuisines of South America.

It grew in the arid and semi-arid regions of the Andes Mountains. Developed as early as 5000 B.C., Quinoa has become a staple of the “Andean” cuisine.

In relation to this, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador are the top Quinoa producing countries globally. Altogether, they produce 250,000 metric tons every year.

Within the U.S., the San Luis Valley in the Colorado Rockies has seen Quinoa’s successful large-scale production since the 1980s. Since then, U.S. industrial production of Quinoa has grown to incorporate acreage in Southern and Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Still, Quinoa imported from South America presently accounts for most of the Quinoa that is loved within the U.S.

Nutritional Facts

Overall, Quinoa has a wonderful nutrition base.

Compared with other refined grains, whole grains like Quinoa are rated as better sources of fiber, protein, B vitamins, and iron. Nonetheless, Quinoa is famous for its protein level.

Protein builds up 15 percent of the grain, as stated by the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. This makes Quinoa a high-protein, low-fat grain alternative. It’s also naturally gluten-free, high in fiber, and gives many vital vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and magnesium.

Because it is so nutrient-rich, Quinoa is an excellent choice for people on a gluten-free diet. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a cup of cooked Quinoa amounts to:

  • 222 calories
  • 39 grams (g) of carbs
  • 8g of protein
  • 6g of fat
  • 5g of fiber
  • 1g of sugar

Different Types of Quinoa

Surprisingly, there are over 120 different varieties of Quinoa. Though the grain itself is available in various colors, the most popular quinoa colors found across American grocers are white, red, and black.

Interestingly enough, all three of these quinoa varieties cook and taste differently.

While white Quinoa has a fuzzy post-cook texture, red and black Quinoa retain more of their shape and color after cooking. Red Quinoa also has a heartier flavor and chewier texture than the muted, bitter taste of white Quinoa. Meanwhile, black Quinoa tastes slightly crunchy and sweeter than the two.

After its popularity spike in 2014, Quinoa was primarily sold in its original seed form. But since then, many other modifications of the product have also started to rise.

You can now get Quinoa flour for alternative baking, while Quinoa flakes are available in almost every supermarket. There’s also quinoa chips, quinoa pasta, and quinoa chocolate.

How to Select and Store

Quinoa is generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may buy in the bulk section, make sure that the bins bearing the Quinoa are covered. It would also help that the store has a good product turnover to secure its maximal freshness.

Whether buying Quinoa in bulk or a packaged container, ensure that there’s no sign of moisture. When choosing the amount to purchase, remember that Quinoa typically increases in size during the cooking process.

You are very likely to get Quinoa in your local supermarket. Otherwise, you can check the Natural Food section in a nearby grocery.

White Quinoa is the most typical type you will find in most stores, although red and black Quinoa is becoming more widely accessible. We have even seen tri-color mixtures of Quinoa being marketed in both prepackaged form and bulk bins.

Store quinoa in an airtight container. It will keep for a longer time, about three to six months, if stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

If you are trying to cook Quinoa and want to sweeten it, you can rinse the seeds lightly and do it again to remove some of the components that make it bitter. A fine-meshed colander makes the process simple to carry out. So much so that you will find colanders being advertised as “quinoa strainers.”

Incorporated among these elements are phytonutrients called saponins. It plays an essential role in protecting the quinoa plant, but which have also been proved to provide us with potential health benefits. 

For this reason, thorough rinsing of Quinoa is something of a judgment call. If you find the taste of unrinsed Quinoa unacceptable, it makes good sense to rinse it before making a delightful quinoa dish. 

If you don’t mind or even favor the taste of unrinsed Quinoa, you can very gently rinse or even forego the rinsing process. That said, some pre packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed during production. Thus, seeds of some quinoa classes (especially white varieties) can be moderately sweet in their natural form.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Quinoa

To cook the Quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is taken to a boil, lessen the heat to simmer and cover.

One cup of Quinoa cooked in this process usually takes 15 minutes to prepare.

Once done, you will notice that the grains have become transparent, and the white germ has partially separated itself. Thus, it appears like a white-spiraled tail.

If you want the Quinoa to have a nuttier taste, you can dry roast it before cooking. To do that, put it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir continually for five minutes.

There were recent studies on whether boiling or steaming Quinoa cooks the B vitamin folate. Fortunately, it is retained regardless of the cooking method.

Quinoa flour is another form of Quinoa that is becoming more broadly accessible in supermarkets. While it is possible to produce baked goods and pasta out of 100% quinoa flour, you can achieve a lighter texture by mixing quinoa flour with other flour types. If you are preparing baked products at home, you can experiment to learn the quinoa flour approach you like best.

Proven Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the world’s most famous health foods.

Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein, and one of the few plant foods that hold adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in magnesium, fiber, iron, B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and various antioxidants.

Here are the health benefits of Quinoa:

Very Nutritious

Quinoa is a grain crop grown for its nutritious seeds, and it’s pronounced as KEEN-wah.

It technically isn’t a cereal grain but a pseudo-cereal.

In other words, it is a seed, which is cooked and eaten similarly to a grain.

Quinoa was an essential crop for the Inca Empire. They attributed to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be divine.

It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America and only recently became a food trend, even reaching superfood standing.

These days, you can get quinoa and quinoa products worldwide, particularly in health food stores and restaurants that emphasize natural foods.

There are three main varieties: white, red, and black.

Quinoa is non-GMO, gluten-free, and commonly grown organically. Even though technically not a cereal grain, it still scores as a whole-grain food.

NASA scientists have been looking at it as a fitting crop to be grown in outer space. This is due to its high nutrient content, the comfort of use, and simplicity of producing it.

Contains Quercetin and Kaempferol

The health impacts of real foods go past the vitamins and minerals with which you may be familiar.

There are thousands of track nutrients, some of which are remarkably healthy.

This incorporates plant antioxidants called flavonoids, which were proven to provide various health benefits.

Two flavonoids that have been primarily well studied are quercetin and kaempferol, both found in high amounts in Quinoa. The quercetin content of Quinoa is even higher than normal high-quercetin foods like cranberries.

These significant molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, and antidepressant outcomes in animal studies.

By adding Quinoa to your diet, you will significantly improve your total intake of these (and other) essential nutrients.

Very High in Fiber

Another main advantage of Quinoa is its high fiber content.

One analysis that looked at four varieties of Quinoa found a scale of 10–16 grams of fiber per every 100 grams.

This equals 17–27 grams per cup, which is essential — more than twice as high as most grains. Boiled Quinoa holds much less fiber, gram for gram, because it absorbs so much water.

Unfortunately, most of the fiber is insoluble, which doesn’t seem to have the same health benefits as soluble fiber.

That being said, the soluble fiber content in Quinoa is still quite adequate, with about 2.5 grams per cup or 1.5 grams per 100 grams.

Various studies show that soluble fiber can help reduce blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It also encourages satiety, which can aid in weight loss.

Gluten-Free

According to a 2013 study, about one-third of people in the U.S. are trying to reduce or avoid gluten.

A gluten-free diet can be healthy, as long as it’s based on directly gluten-free foods.

Problems occur when people eat gluten-free foods prepared with refined starches.

These foods are no better than their gluten-containing counterparts, as gluten-free junk food is still junk food.

Many researchers have been looking at Quinoa as a fitting ingredient in gluten-free diets. Researchers revealed that using Quinoa instead of typical gluten-free ingredients like refined tapioca, potato, corn, and rice flour can dramatically boost your diet’s nutrient and antioxidant value.

High in Protein and Essential Amino Acids

Protein consists of amino acids, nine of which are called essential, as your body cannot create them and take them through your diet.

If a food holds all nine essential amino acids, it’s referred to as a full protein.

The problem is that many plant foods are lacking in certain essential amino acids, such as lysine.

However, Quinoa is an exception because it holds adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. For this reason, it’s a great source of protein. It has both more and better protein than most grains.

With 8 grams of quality protein per cup (185 grams), Quinoa is an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans.

Has a Low Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise your blood sugar levels.

Eating foods that are high on the glycemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity.

Such foods have also been linked to many common, chronic, Western diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is considered low.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that it’s still relatively high in carbs. Therefore, it’s not a good choice if you’re following a low-carb diet.

High in Important Minerals

Many people don’t get enough of certain vital nutrients.

This is particularly true of some minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, zinc, and (for women) iron.

Quinoa is very high in all four minerals, particularly magnesium, with one cup (185 grams) providing about 30% of the RDA.

The problem is that it also contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind these minerals and reduce their absorption. However, soaking or sprouting the Quinoa before cooking can reduce the phytic acid content and make these minerals more bioavailable.

Quinoa is also pretty high in oxalates, which reduce the absorption of calcium. This can cause problems for specific individuals with recurring kidney stones.

Metabolic Health Benefits

Given its high beneficial nutrient content, it makes sense that Quinoa could improve metabolic health.

To date, two studies, in humans and rats, examined the effects of Quinoa on metabolic health.

The human-based study found that using Quinoa instead of typical gluten-free bread and pasta significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels.

Research in rats showed that adding Quinoa to a high fructose diet almost wholly inhibited its adverse effects. However, more research is needed to understand the impact of Quinoa on metabolic health.

Very High in Antioxidants

Quinoa is very high in antioxidants. These are substances that neutralize free radicals and are believed to help fight aging and many diseases.

In a study researching antioxidant levels in five bowls of cereal, three pseudo-cereals, and two legumes found that Quinoa had the highest antioxidant content of all.

Allowing the seeds to sprout seems to increase the antioxidant content even further.

May Help You Lose Weight

To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn.

Specific food properties can promote weight loss, either by boosting metabolism or reducing appetite.

Interestingly, Quinoa has several such properties.

It’s high in protein, which can both increase metabolism and reduce appetite significantly.

The high amount of fiber may increase feelings of fullness, making you eat fewer calories overall.

Quinoa’s low glycemic index is another important feature, as choosing such foods has been linked to reduced calorie intake.

Although there is currently no study on Quinoa’s effects on body weight, it seems intuitive that it could be a useful part of a healthy weight loss diet.

Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet

While not directly a health benefit, the fact that Quinoa is straightforward to incorporate into your diet is nonetheless essential.

It’s also tasty and goes well with many foods.

Depending on the type of Quinoa, it can be necessary to rinse it with water before cooking. This is to get rid of saponins found on the outer layer and have a bitter flavor.

However, some brands have already been rinsed, making this step unnecessary.

You can buy Quinoa in most health food stores and many supermarkets.

It can be ready to eat in as little as 15–20 minutes:

  • Put 2 cups (240 ml) of water in a pot, turn up the heat.
  • Add 1 cup (170 grams) of raw Quinoa, with a dash of salt.
  • Boil for 15–20 minutes.
  • Enjoy.

It should now have absorbed most of the water and gotten a fluffy look. If done right, it should have a mild, nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch.

You can easily find many healthy and diverse recipes for Quinoa online, including breakfast bowls, lunches, and dinners.

Can Eating Quinoa Help You Lose Weight?

Potentially.

Packed with protein and fiber, Quinoa can certainly promote feelings of fullness. It is a low-glycemic-index carbohydrate since it’s very rich in fiber and protein. This means you’ll feel fuller longer after consuming it, which may help you eat less over time.

But while Quinoa has plenty of nutritional benefits, it is hardly considered a low-calorie food source. So yes, in small quantities, Quinoa can help you lose weight, but that is contingent on your portion consumption.

Are There any Side Effects to Eating Quinoa?

Quinoa, as it seems, really is as healthy as we hear, primarily when you practice portion control. And it is also incredibly safe to eat consistently.

The only likely side effect is just some stomach irritation due to the saponin (the natural coating) on the outside of the grains.

Even so, this can be easily prevented before eating. To reduce the likelihood of irritation, you’ll want to make sure to rinse the Quinoa well before use.

Final Thoughts

Rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and all nine essential amino acids, Quinoa is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.

It may improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and even aid weight loss. What’s more, it’s naturally gluten-free, delicious, versatile, and incredibly easy to prepare.

So, if you want to transition to a healthier, consider adding Quinoa to your meal plan.

Categories
Fat Loss Keto Nutrition Weight Loss

Easy Spinach Recipes to Support Your Weight Loss Journey

People tend to have a love-hate relationship with spinach. Spinach is a mild-flavored and healthy vegetable that makes for a great ingredient in salads, pasta, sandwiches, and more.

This probably explains why Popeye the Sailor Man loves spinach.

Whether you wrinkle up your nose at the very mention of it or buy a large bag every week, the recipes below will transform your view on spinach forever. 

Lentil Salad with Beets and Spinach

Precooked lentils make this hearty lunch come together in 10 minutes (or less). You can also roast the beets ahead of time—look for the golden quality in grocery stores. They’re much less rumpled than red beets, which can stain your hands and your cutting board.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup precooked lentils (such as Melissas)
  • 1 Roasted Golden Beet, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled Cotija cheese 

Preparation

Combine the vinegar, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. Stir together the lentils, beets, and spinach in a bowl.

Toss with the dressing. Top with the walnuts and cheese.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a simple side dish that is also the ideal way to use up any dying spinach. The creaminess will make you forget you’re eating spinach and convert anyone into a fan of leafy greens. It seems like a lot of spinach, but it will boil down to almost zero, so don’t skimp on it. 

Ingredients 

  • 20 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan 

Preparation

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spinach for 30 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, drain and squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add and onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. 
  3. Add milk, heavy cream, and cream cheese to the skillet. Simmer until cream cheese is melted. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. 
  4. Add spinach and Parmesan and stir to combine. 

One-Pot Pasta With Spinach and Tomatoes

This one-pot pasta dinner is simple, fresh, and healthful.

Preparing the pasta right in the sauce saves time and cleanup while soaking the noodles with more flavor. This quick recipe is also endlessly versatile and lends itself to plenty of easy ingredient swaps.

You can also add other healthy ingredients like sliced zucchini, mushrooms, leftover diced cooked chicken thighs, or crumbled sausage. You can also opt for whole wheat paste for a healthier option.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces whole-grain spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10-ounce fresh spinach
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup) 

Preparation

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.
  2. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion starts to brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, stock, oregano, and pasta, in that order. Bring to a boil. Add noodles; stir to submerge in liquid.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 7 minutes or until pasta is almost done.
  5. Uncover; stir in salt. Add spinach in batches, stirring until it wilts. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes before sprinkling cheese on top.

Note:

  • Trade out spaghetti for any short pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, rotini, or shells.
  • Use fresh grape tomatoes instead, and attach fresh herbs.
  • Combine chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, or ground turkey for a healthfuller dish.

Spinach Artichoke Zucchini Bites

These little chaps are scary addictive. Just as the zucchini becomes delicate, the cheese is getting melty and delicious.

If you want a little added color on your bites, turn the oven to broil on medium and cook them a couple of minutes more. Just keep an eye on them.

For a smart party trick, try making these in the air fryer! They come out flawlessly. 

Ingredient 

  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 2/3 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan 
  • 1/2 c. canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2″ rounds 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, spinach, sour cream, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top of each zucchini coin.
  3. Bake until zucchini is tender and cheese is melty, 15 minutes. For more color, broil on high, 1 to 2 minutes.

For Air Fryer

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, spinach, sour cream, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cook zucchini slices in an air fryer at 375° for 8 minutes, then top each piece with one tablespoon cream cheese mixture. 
  3. Return to the air fryer and continue cooking in batches until the cheese is profoundly golden and zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes more. 

Creamed Curried Spinach

Curry powder attaches warmth and earthiness to this speedy version of creamed spinach. Whole milk yogurt gives the side a tasty mouthfeel and plenty of body. Serve with steak or with seared planks of spice-rubbed tofu.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 5 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Preparation

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute crushed red pepper and thinly sliced garlic clove for about 2 minutes.

Add thinly sliced shallots and curry powder; cook for 2 minutes. Add fresh baby spinach to pan in batches, stirring until wilted before adding more. Stir in yogurt and kosher salt.

Spinach Artichoke Orzo

The flavors of your desired dip are now in an orzo dish.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sliced green onions, whites, and light greens separated from the dark
  • 3/4 lb. orzo
  • 3 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 (12-oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts, quartered 
  • 3 c. baby spinach
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 

Preparation

  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium.
  2. Add garlic and white and light green parts of green onion, cook, occasionally stirring, until just beginning to brown.
  3. Add orzo and broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook, frequently stirring until orzo is just al dente, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in cream cheese and Parmesan until melted and combined. Add artichoke and cook until warmed through. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine. Sprinkle with green parts of green onion and more Parmesan.

Feta-Quinoa Cakes with Spinach

Precooked whole grains are possibly the best possible addition to the convenience food lineup. It helps you save time and comes in serving-friendly containers.

Look for unseasoned grains for a product that’s more adaptable and lower in sodium.

While most precooked bits call for some cooking to reheat and finish hydrating, we leap that step here. The quinoa will plump in the fluid from the cake batter and finish cooking in the skillet.

Watch for feta cheese crumbles to save even more time, but hop the reduced-fat kind; these can taste rubbery.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup grated yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces feta cheese crumbles (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. pre-cooked plain quinoa (such as Simply Balanced)
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach or watercress
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 

Preparation

  1. Combine the first ten ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Divide and shape mixture into 8 (1-inch-thick) patties (about 1/2 cup each).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and spinach in a medium bowl; toss gently to combine.
  4. Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mayonnaise, sour cream, and paprika in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  5. Divide spinach among four plates; top evenly with patties and mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately.

Creamed Spinach Stuffed Salmon

If you’re doubtful about the combination of cheese and salmon, don’t be. We assure you, it’s AMAZING.

Ingredients 

  • 4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation

  1. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, mozzarella, spinach, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. 
  2. Using a paring knife, slice a slit in each salmon to create a pocket. Stuff pockets with cream cheese mixture. 
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add salmon skin side down and cook until seared, about 6 minutes, then flip salmon.
  4. Add butter and squeeze lemon juice all over. Cook until the skin is crispy, another 6 minutes. Serve warm.

Spinach, Hummus, and Bell Pepper Wraps

Fresh, flavorful, veggie-packed, and set in 10-minute ease—now that’s a meal we can stand behind!

Hummus gives a winning combo of protein and healthy fat for staying power, while fresh bell peppers and spinach provide a satisfying crunch. Tomato-and-basil feta cheese supplements a kick of salty tang and Mediterranean flair.

Make this wrap the night before and place it in the fridge—just grab it in the morning on your way out the door. Use Flatout Light whole-grain flatbreads to retain calories in check; you can find them at most supermarkets.

Match this tasty wrap with whole-wheat crackers or a piece of fruit to turn out a nutritious, delicious lunch.

Ingredients 

  • 2 (1.9-oz.) whole-grain flatbreads (such as Flatout Light)
  • 1/2 cup roasted garlic hummus
  • 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup firmly packed baby spinach
  • 1 ounce crumbled tomato-and-basil feta cheese (about 1/4 cup) 

Preparation

  1. Spread each flatbread with 1/4 cup hummus, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
  2. Divide the bell pepper evenly between the flatbreads; top each with 1/2 cup spinach and two tablespoons of cheese.
  3. Starting from one short side, roll up the wraps. Cut each wrap in half, and secure with wooden picks.

Creamed Spinach Chicken

Be prepared to lick your plate clean because you’ll be eating straight out of the pan. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional) 

Preparation

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat one tablespoon oil. Season chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper and cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. 
  2. Heat remaining tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add spinach in batches until wilted. 
  3. Pour over heavy cream and chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes. Add mozzarella and Parmesan and stir until melted, then return chicken to skillet and simmer 5 minutes. 
  4. Serve creamed spinach spooned over chicken with bread, if using.

Zucchini and Spinach Chilaquiles

This Verde version of a Mexican brunch masterpiece is the perfect introduction to summer.

If you have time, try turning out canned tomatillos for something fresh. Take out the papery husks from 8 ounces fresh tomatillos, toss with one tablespoon oil on a baking sheet, and broil for 6 minutes or until lightly charred. Cool before processing.

Queso fresco has the texture of strained ricotta. It won’t melt under the broiler, but its mild flavor will be a welcome contrast to the heat in the tomatillo mixture.

Add scrambled eggs to each portion for a little extra protein.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (12-oz.) can tomatillos, drained
  • 4 tablespoons water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces multigrain tortilla chips (about 4 cups)
  • 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce, optional 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Place 3/4 cup cilantro, peppers, and tomatillos in a food processor; process 20 seconds. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Stir in juice.
  3. Heat oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini, onion, and jalapeño; cook for 6 minutes. Add spinach, stirring to wilt. Place zucchini mixture in a bowl. Wipeout pan.
  4. Arrange tortilla chips in pan; top with tomatillo mixture, zucchini mixture, and cheese. Broil 2 minutes. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and hot sauce, if desired.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Pesto is a prominent big-batch sauce for using up a mix of herbs and greens, but it tends to go army green if prepared ahead.

You should quickly blanch spinach and basil to preserve the color without diluting flavor, then bump up the green with fresh parsley. A little chopped tomato can add moisture and mild acidity.

Be sure to press the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent it from browning. A simple shrimp and asparagus pasta toss let the pesto shine; you could also use chicken breast, broccoli florets, or haricots verts.

Ingredient 

Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup seeded chopped plum tomato
  • 6 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta:

  • 8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup halved multicolored grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Preparation

  1. To prepare pesto, bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil.
  2. Add spinach and basil; cook for 20 seconds. Remove spinach mixture to a bowl filled with ice water (reserve water in the pan).
  3. Let it stand for 30 seconds. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place parsley and next seven ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.
  5. Add spinach mixture and two tablespoons oil; process to combine.
  6. Place 3/4 cup pesto in a small bowl; place plastic wrap directly on pesto.
  7. Reserve for Pesto Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Vegetable Soup au Pistou.
  1. To prepare pasta, return water in the pan to a boil.
  2. Add pasta; cook according to package directions, adding asparagus during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  3. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high until butter melts. Sprinkle shrimp with red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  5. Add shrimp to pan; cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from the pan.
  6. Add pasta mixture and reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid to pan; cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the remaining six tablespoons pesto, shrimp, grape tomatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is a nutritious, leafy green. No wonder it offers a handful of health benefits.

Spinach may reduce oxidative stress, enhance eye health, and help prevent heart disease and cancer.

If you’re curious about its health-boosting potential, spinach is an accessible food to add to your diet.

Categories
Keto Nutrition

Diet Soda: Can You Have it While on Keto?

One question commonly asked by people who are considering the Ketogenic diet is whether they can drink soda.

Here’s the thing: The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It also prioritizes genuine, high-quality food that is packed with nutrition.

That said, let’s tear it down to see how diet soda measures up to these standards. In this article, we’ll look at the ingredients in diet soda, the effect it has on your health, and where it fits on keto.

What is Keto Diet?

To know whether soda is Keto-friendly, it’s best first to understand what a Keto diet is.

First, it is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Meaning, you have to limit your carb intake.

Second, the Keto diet allows you to achieve ketosis. It is a metabolic state wherein your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. The reason you can accomplish this is a Keto diet is that your daily carb intake is limited.

Studies have shown that entering ketosis and living a ketogenic lifestyle can help with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. If your quality of life is in the gutter due to lack of sleep, digestive problems, hormonal imbalance, lack of energy, or excess weight, it is pretty exciting to know that you can take control of your health.

What’s in Your Diet Soda?

If you consider a lifestyle transformation like keto, it may mean changing some of your old eating patterns. Since diet soda is so famous in the US, this could be one of the turns you’re thinking about changing.

Let’s try to see if it’s worth it! We’ll begin with the nutrition label.

Diet Coke ingredients, for instance, are carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate, citric acid, natural flavors, and caffeine.

They said it has zero calories and zero carbs. While it looks safe, that doesn’t mean that it is enough to achieve weight loss and ketosis.

Keep in mind that the Keto diet is all about eating real, high-quality foods for optimal health. Diet Coke may check some keto boxes, but it doesn’t check the one we believe is the most essential: natural and nutrient-dense.

Simply put, diet sodas don’t add any nutritional content to your daily diet.

If we jump into the nutrition label a bit further, we stumble upon a few difficult to pronounce ingredients, aspartame being one of them.

As it turns out, aspartame isn’t the safest component. Learning a bit more about it may help you determine if diet soda belongs on the keto diet―or any diet for that matter.

Aspartame Poses Health Risks

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that you can find in diet sodas. It’s also an essential ingredient in popular sugar alternatives like Equal and NutraSweet.

These are all brands we recognize well and that have kept our sweet tooths happy. But, there’s some mad science behind the substance they are composed of.

Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are both varieties of amino acids.

Aspartic acid is produced naturally in the body, and phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. Meaning, we get the latter from the food we eat.

When absorbed in the body, aspartame turns to methanol, which is toxic in large doses. When heated, it can even transform into formaldehyde―a cancer-causing element.

It is also believed that aspartame contributes to a couple of health problems like seizures, kidney disease, depression, heart issues, stroke, and dementia.

Diet Soda and Weight Loss

By now, you should know that diet soda is unhealthy. Moreover, it prevents you from losing weight.

We know that it is confusing since a diet soda does not have calories and carbs.

One probability is that diet soda makes you crave more sweets. This can lead to a vicious cycle that can hinder you from losing weight.

In addition, the sweet taste may trigger your blood sugar to spike, and imbalanced insulin levels are a relevant factor to weight gain. That’s because artificial sweeteners in diet soda can alter your gut’s microbiome.

An altered microbiome could produce insulin-resistant gut bacteria that causes blood sugar levels to spike.

Diet Soda and Keto

Technically, a diet soda ticks a couple of boxes relevant to the Keto diet.

But it is a healthy option, despite FDA saying that artificial sweeteners are safe to consume.

If you’re looking to stay healthy and obtain your body transformation goals, we advise staying away from these sweeteners. They are made in labs and aren’t natural, which is the most significant reason we believe they don’t belong on keto or any other diet.

5 Reasons Why Diet Soda on Keto is Bad for You

We are talking about carbonated water infused artificial sweeteners and other synthetic additives. On the other hand, non-caloric drinks without added sugar and carbohydrates are keto-friendly.

But is it that simple? The quick answer is no.

That’s said, let have an in-depth look at natural and artificial sweeteners:

Diet Soda can Harm Your Gut Health

Synthetic sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose are known to mess with your gut microbiome.

They are killing so-called “good” microbes while letting the bad ones overrun your gut microflora.

Even stevia can alter the composition of your gut microbiome. According to a study, a single package of the sucralose-based sweetener Splenda destroys 50 percent of healthy gut microflora.

With this in mind, such a rise of “bad” gut microbes causes an immunological effect in the body. This can lead to weight gain.

Another artificial sweetener that’s becoming infamous is the acesulfame potassium. It’s as sweet as aspartame and 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

Acesulfame K is more repellent to heat and acids than aspartame. Hence, it has critical side effects other than altering your gut microbiome and weight gain. It is also believed to harm your cognitive brain function.

In short, acesulfame potassium is as risky for you as aspartame on keto.

Sweet Taste is a Fat Storage Signal

From a historical view, sweet taste used to be rare. Nature gave a sweet taste in the form of ripe summer fruits and honey. Moreover, in medieval times, honey was the only sweetener.

Fruits and honey are rich in fructose – a vital driver of insulin resistance in liver cells. Thus, it’s possible that obesity could have been our Stone Age ancestors’ pass for survival.

If they discovered something sweet, nature made sure that humans ate it. Moreover, today’s fruits are candy on a tree compared to their ancestral versions.

For example, the middle ages’ apples (crab apples) were practically inedible, and wild strawberries used to be way smaller.

The first sugar cane plantations were developed in the days of the crusaders. Since it was a luxury good until the 19th century, sugar was essentially used for medicine and rarely for cooking.

Consequently, people didn’t have sweet dishes at all.

For hundreds of thousands of years, sweet taste was seasonal and inadequate due to natural events.

Therefore, our bodies still recognize it as an evolutionary signal for storing fat to survive wintertime. But thanks to artificial sweeteners and sugar, our bodies are encountering an endless summer.

Since it disrupts its circadian clock, the 24/7 availability of sweet taste is similar to jet lag to the human body.

Besides the 24 hours based circadian clock, there’s also one tied to the moon cycle, drawing a sense for seasons.

Fruit season used to be necessary for survival. But since then, we are interrupting the circadian rhythm.

Because we are consuming dietary fructose and sweetened drinks like diet coke all year round, we tend to gain weight.

The sweet taste is an evolutionary signal to the body, animating fat storage to survive winter. Since it’s not about sugar, non-caloric sweeteners are efficiently promoting body fat.

Diet Soda Keto Promotes Cravings for Sweets

Did you ever ask yourself why we are so susceptible to sweetness and why it seems to be the most addictive taste? A significant reason is that two-thirds of our taste buds are responsible for sweet taste.

The big hint to the evolutionary sensitivity to sweetness is not just sugar molecules but also artificial sweeteners, which adhere to the tongue’s receptors. In other words, diet soda makes our brain grasping for sweet taste.

Because compared to salty taste, sweetness has a positive feedback arrangement. It’s more likely to make you addicted. The more you consume, the more you desire.

If the brain craves sweets like glucose but receives non-caloric sweeteners, it results in more cravings. Moreover, functional magnetic resonance imaging examinations showed that sucralose does not fully activate the brain’s reward center like glucose does.

Consequently, the brain aims towards the full activation of the reward center. This makes it more likely to amplify cravings and a bad habit of eating sweets.

With that in mind, researchers have also found that replacing caloric beverages with diet soda does not lead to total calorie loss. This is due to increased appetite.

Recently, scientists at Yale University discovered that the intensity of sweetness indicates the amount of energy stored in food to our brains. Therefore, the signal representing nutritional value and the metabolic response can be distracted by drinking diet soda.

Since a sweetened non-caloric drink can trigger a more robust metabolic response than a sugary beverage, diet soda on keto is a bad idea.

Artificial sweeteners are scrambling our brains by partially stimulating the reward center and fostering cravings for sweets. Furthermore, the metabolic response is disturbed due to missing nutritional value in diet soda.

Diet Soda Raises Insulin Levels

Insulin, not calories or a shortage of physical activity, is the ultimate driver of obesity. With this in mind, it does not matter if food increases blood sugar levels as long as it elevates insulin.

Therefore, we need to have a glance at the insulin response to artificial sweeteners. Sucralose doesn’t produce any glucose or calories in your body, but it raises insulin levels by 20 percent.

Likewise, other artificial and natural sweeteners spur insulin.

Nevertheless, the traditional sweeteners aspartame and stevia almost don’t have an impact on blood sugar levels. But they increase insulin more significantly than table sugar does.

Although diet drinks on keto may not produce any additional carbs, sugar, or even calories, they support your body to produce insulin. And the hormone affects weight gain.

A single diet coke might not beat you out of ketosis, but too much of it can. Furthermore, diet soda intensifies the risks of metabolic syndrome, strokes, and heart attacks.

Non-caloric sweeteners can raise insulin levels more than regular sodas. Consequently, you are developing modern diseases and weight gain by drinking diet soda on keto.

It can lead to Weight Gain and Health Risks

Here’s a general question produced by statistical evidence. If diet soda is at least impartial in weight gain, why did its consumption and obesity skyrocket in the last decades?

The University of Texas Health Sciences Center discovered that weight gain could increase as much as 47% when you consume diet soda.

In another research, the American Cancer Society demonstrated how diet soda could foster weight loss among 70,000 plus women. But the outcome wasn’t what they anticipated. Women consuming artificial sweeteners were significantly more likely to increase in weight.

And the list of related research goes on.

However, artificial sweeteners don’t just raise the risk of obesity.

The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study examined 59,614 women over 8.7 years. The outcome? Participants drinking two or more diet sodas per day encountered a 30% higher risk of cardiovascular events.

And that’s consistent with an investigation conducted at the University of Miami, yielding a 43% rise in strokes and heart attacks.

Do you see why diet soda on keto is a poor approach? Because there is a lot of evidence that it causes weight gain and other health risks.

There’s Still Hope for Your Sweet Tooth

We understand if you’re starting to have a negative connotation about diet soda. But there is still hope.

Eliminating diet soda from your diet doesn’t mean that you have to stop treating yourself to refreshing and sweet drinks. You’ll just need to make things a little differently.

If you’re on the Keto diet, you can use keto-friendly sweeteners like monk fruit, erythritol, and stevia to sweeten our desserts and drinks.

One of the most common zero-calorie soft drinks is Zevia. This is a beverage sweetened by SweetSmart. It is a mixture of stevia extract, monk fruit extract, and erythritol. 

The number of flavors in their line gives each recovering soda addict something to enjoy.

Other great alternatives are sparkling water like Perrier, La Croix, and Bubly. 

Below is a list of keto-friendly drinks you can attach to your diet. You can sweeten them with the sweeteners we suggest as they are natural and plant-based, don’t raise insulin levels, and are low-carb.

  • Coffee, or Keto Butter Coffee
  • Iced or Hot Tea
  • Water
  • Carbonated Water
  • Electrolytes
  • Alcohol (certain types, in moderation)
  • Keto Protein Powder Smoothies
  • Low-carb nut or alternative dairy drinks

Final Thoughts

So, does diet soda have a spot on the keto diet? The quick answer is no.

The Keto diet emphasizes real food. Meaning, what you consume should be natural, high-quality, and nutrient-dense. Doing so can help you attain your health goals.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame don’t fit the bill. But don’t be discouraged because sweets are still welcome on keto. It is just a matter of using Keto-friendly sweeteners like monk fruit, erythritol, and stevia.

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition Keto Reviews

10 of the Best Lazy Keto Recipes

Do you want to feel your family good food, but you’re on a Ketogenic diet?

We know that it can be challenging to do so. But we’re here to help you find the best keto recipes that you can also whip up for your family.

What is Lazy Keto?

The term lazy keto is used mutually with dirty keto.

Lazy keto (or dirty keto) is where the only thing people track is carbs, and they try to consume less than 20 grams of carbs a day.

They don’t follow any other macros—not fat, not fiber, and not protein—just the carbs.

Another distinction between lazy keto and clean (or pure) keto is that the former enables people to eat food from whatever source they want. What’s important is that they consume less than 20 grams of carbs per day.

Many people who follow lazy/dirty keto rely massively on 1-minute mug cakes, low-carb bars, and other fast meals.

It is not as stern with the types of meals you eat or the amount of the macro ratio as long as you adhere to the 20g of carbs or less.

Lazy Keto Recipes

For the busy, the tired, and the lazy – we’ve got you covered.

Keto Fried Salmon with Asparagus

Another one-skillet sensation to savor. Just three ingredients—salmon, asparagus, and butter —molded into a tasty dinner in only 15 minutes. It’s keto, and it’s simply exquisite.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. green asparagus
  • 3 oz. butter
  • 9 oz. salmon, boneless fillets, in pieces
  • salt and pepper 

Preparation

  1. Rinse and trim the asparagus.
  2. Heat a hearty dollop of butter in a frying pan where you can fit both the fish and vegetables.
  3. Fry the asparagus over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Gather everything in one half of the frying pan.
  4. If necessary, add more butter and fry the salmon pieces for a couple of minutes on each side. Stir the asparagus now and then. Lower the heat towards the end.
  5. Season the salmon and serve with the remaining butter.

NOTE: This keto dish can be prepared with other low-carb vegetables such as zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, or spinach. Feel free to use your favorite seasonings to give this dish more flavor.

Keto Vanilla Berry Mug Cake

This single-serve keto mug cake uses only 1 minute to prepare. It is filled with healthy fats and fiber. Plus, the fruit has antioxidants that your body requires to fight those free radicals.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) butter melted
  • 2 tbsp (2 tbsp) cream cheese full fat
  • 2 tbsp (2 tbsp) coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) granulated sweetener of choice or more to taste
  • 1 tsp (1 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) baking powder
  • 1 (1 ) egg medium
  • 6 (6 ) frozen raspberries 

Preparation

  1. Place the butter and cream cheese in your chosen mug. Microwave on HIGH for 20 seconds.
  2. Add the coconut flour, sweetener, vanilla, and baking powder. Mix well. Add the egg. Mix again
  3. Scrape down the sides of the mug, then press in 6 frozen raspberries into the cake batter.
  4. Microwave on HIGH for one minute and twenty seconds.

NOTES:

  • You can lower the total carbs further by eliminating the raspberries (1.5 total carbs) to make a simple keto vanilla mug cake.
  • Adjust the microwave cooking times according to the power of your microwave. Some microwaves are pretty powerful and only need a minute, but most standard microwaves may require the 1:20 as stated in the recipe.
  • No microwave? No problem. Simply bake at 180C/350F in a cupcake case or muffin tray for 12 minutes. 

Keto Meat Subs

These are the EASIEST keto sandwiches you’ll ever create.

Ingredients 

  • 9 oz (250 g) Italian style ham
  • 4 1/2 oz. (125 g) prosciutto
  • 5 1/2 oz (150 g) salami soppressata
  • 5 1/2 oz (150 g) genoa salami
  • 2 avocados (12 oz/340 g), peeled, pit removed, and sliced
  • 4 green onions, cut in half
  • 2 leaves of iceberg lettuce or kale
  • 8 toothpicks, optional 

Sub Sauce 

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) NOW Foods Elyndale Organics Avocado Oil, MCT Oil, Liquid Coconut Oil, or Canola Oil
  • 4 teaspoons juice from banana peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon grey sea salt
  • pinch ground black pepper 

Preparation

  1. Place a slice of ham on a clean plate or cutting board. Layer a piece of prosciutto, followed by three or four pieces of salami, layering like a pyramid or making a square shape with the layers.
  2. Add a couple of slices of avocado, followed by a piece of green onion and an iceberg to the far side of the meat stack.
  3. Roll the ingredients up like a California roll. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining meat and filling.
  4. Afterward, combine all sub sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and serve alongside the low-carb sandwich.

Note: If you don’t want to make the sub sauce, no worries. You could add a scoop or two of bacon mayonnaise to the wraps before you add the filling.

Double Chocolate Chaffles

Chaffles are some of the most amazing creations for keto recipes. They are fantastic cheese waffles and super versatile.

These double chocolate chaffles taste like dessert! You make them right on your waffle maker in a matter of just minutes.

Ingredients 

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pre-shredded/grated mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice or more to your taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar-free chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 tsp heavy or double cream 

Preparation

  1. Combine the ingredients for your chosen flavor in a bowl.
  2. Preheat your waffle maker. When it is hot, spray with olive oil and pour half the batter into the mini-waffle maker (or the entire batter into a massive waffle maker).
  3. Cook for 2-4 minutes, then remove and repeat. You should be able to make two mini-chaffles per recipe or one large chaffle.
  4. Top, serve, and enjoy.

Keto Shrimp Scampi

The traditional shrimp scampi recipes include lots of fettuccine pasta. Not low-carb friendly at all.

This quick keto version uses a base on spinach instead. It only takes 15 minutes to get to your plate. Choose peeled shrimp to make it even quicker!

Ingredients 

  • 40 large raw shrimp
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • 4 handfuls spinach 

Preparation

  1. To start, place your shrimp in a bowl of cold water and let them defrost. If the shrimp are not peeled, wait until they thaw and peel their shells off.
  2. While you’re waiting for the shrimp to defrost, chop up some onions into small pieces.
  3. Pour olive oil into a pan and cook your shrimp for about 2 minutes or until they are all pink. We’re not cooking the shrimp all the way through. Take the shrimp off the pan and onto a plate to rest.
  4. Then on the same hot pan, cook your onions until translucent. Add some salt to encourage all the ingredients to let their juices out! Then squeeze the garlic and let it cook for about another minute.
  5. Add your butter, cream, and parmesan, and stir until you have a combined sauce. Let this cook for about 2 minutes to let some moisture out and let the whole sauce thicken a bit.
  6. Now add the shrimp back into the pan and stir very well. Let all the sides of the shrimp soak up the delicious sauce. Cook this all together for no longer than 2-3 minutes. Overcooked shrimp are dry, rubbery, and hard to chew.
  7. When the shrimp are done, take them off and let them relax. On the same pan yet again, cook all your spinach slightly. Don’t let them shrink and get too soggy. The closer to raw, the more vitamins and minerals are spared.
  8. Now, combine the spinach and the scrimp to create one tasty, quick dinner! Enjoy!

Keto Muffins

When you are craving bread or muffins, make these keto muffins in just a minute. They come out pretty fluffy and taste just like carby muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp coconut flour or more depending on the brand used
  • pinch baking powder
  • pinch salt

Preparation

  1. Grease a ramekin dish (or huge coffee mug) with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Mix all the ingredients with a fork to ensure it is lump-free.
  3. Cook the 1-minute keto muffin in the microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds – 1 minute. Alternatively, they can be baked in an oven, at 200C/400F for 12 minutes
  4. Cut in half and serve

Keto Chicken and Cabbage Plate

Do you want to know the secret to super-fast keto meals?

Rotisserie chicken!

It is the secret weapon for many lazy (or very busy) keto cooks. Just check at the deli that they don’t add any sauces to the chicken before cooking in the rotisserie.

This Keto chicken and cabbage plate recipe uses rotisserie chicken – but you can use leftover chicken too.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of rotisserie chicken
  • 7 oz. fresh green cabbage
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Shred the cabbage using a sharp knife or a mandolin and place it on a plate.
  2. Slice the onion thinly and add it to the plate, together with the rotisserie chicken and a hearty dollop of mayonnaise.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the cabbage and add some salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: For this dish, we’ve used rotisserie chicken, but you can use any leftover chicken.

You can also pan-fry a piece or two of raw chicken if you wish. Just make sure it’s fully cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F) before serving.

Sugar-Free Nutella

You can have that delicious hazelnut spread on the keto diet— just make it with clean ingredients and no sugar. This sugar-free Nutella tastes fantastic on your favorite chaffle!

Ingredients

  • 150 g (1 1/4 cups) walnut halves
  • 1 tsp (1 tsp) vanilla
  • 4 tbsp (4 tbsp) cocoa unsweetened
  • 4 tbsp (4 tbsp) coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp (4 tbsp) granulated sweetener of choice or more, to your taste

Preparation

  1. Place all the ingredients in your mini food processor that attaches to your stick blender or small blender with sharp blades.
  2. Blitz until smooth. This will probably take a minute or two. The coconut oil doesn’t even need melting as it softens with the warmth of the blades rotating.
  3. Store in the fridge if you would like it to be a firm spread in the summer or store in an airtight container in the winter.

NOTE: Please taste the chocolate spread and adjust to your liking. Even though cocoa brands have similar carb values, their strength of flavor differs dramatically.

Easy Pork Stir Fry Recipe

Stir-Fries are one of the best meals for lazy cooks – it has your meat, fat, and veggies all cooked in one pan. And you can even buy the meat and the veggies pre-cut into strips, ready to drop into the pan.

Even for picky eaters, this Easy Pork Stir Fry Recipe is bound to be a hit!

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 pound pork loin, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 ounces broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 bunch green onion (scallions), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon extra dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low carb sugar (or sugar or coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Optional Ingredients

  • red pepper flakes
  • sesame seeds 

Preparation

  1. Mince a clove of garlic. Cut a 1-inch piece of ginger and peel the thin skin with a spoon. Mince the ginger and add it to the garlic. Cut the pork loin into thin strips and mix with 1 tbsp. oil and the ginger and garlic.
  2. Cut the red bell pepper into strips and place into the bottom of a medium bowl. Cut the green onions (scallions) into 2-inch pieces, including some of the green stems, and add them to the bowl. Cut the broccoli florets into large bite-sized pieces, layering them on top. 
  3. Add the sweetener and cornstarch (arrowroot) to a small bowl and mix together. Stir in the Tamari soy sauce, dry sherry, and sesame oil.
  4. Place the wok over high heat. It’s ready when a drop of water skips across the surface. Add one tablespoon of oil and quickly tilt the wok to coat all surfaces. Pour out the remaining oil. Place the wok back onto the heat and add the pork to the pan’s sides and bottom. Leave the pork undisturbed until it has cooked halfway through; the bottom half will turn white. Stir the pork and cook until it is almost cooked through. Remove from the pan to the serving bowl. 
  5. Dump the bowl of vegetables into the wok with the broccoli at the bottom. Cover with a lid and cook for 1 minute. Stir the vegetables and add the pork and any juices back to the pan. Stir the pork and vegetables together. Stir the stir fry sauce and pour it over the pork and vegetables. Push the pork stir fry to the sides and let the sauce boil at the bottom of the wok, occasionally stirring for several seconds until the sauce thickens. 
  6. If you would like the sauce a little thicker, remove the stir-fried pork and vegetables to the serving bowl and let the sauce cook a little longer. Pour the sauce over the stir fry when it reaches your desired level of thickness. Serve.

Keto Chicken Salad

Break out of the monotony of salads. Here are three completely different ways to eat the same zesty keto chicken salad. It’s a fun way to shake up your meal prep routine!

You don’t even need to cook the chicken, just pick up a hot rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, and voila! Dinner will be an assembly line.

Ingredients 

  • 450 g (1 lb) cooked chicken chopped or shredded
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt unsweetened natural
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs parsley, basil, etc
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cubed avocado optional
  • 1 tbsp feta cheese optional to garnish 

Preparation

  1. To bake your chicken, place the chicken in a baking pan and drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake the chicken at 220C/425F for 10-15 minutes or until done. Alternatively, grill, broil, barbecue, or buy a rotisserie chicken.
  2. Chop your cooked chicken and vegetables. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Garnish and serve as lettuce wraps, with FatHead crackers, or with mozzarella dough flatbread. Store leftover chicken salad in the refrigerator.

Final Thoughts

Even if lazy keto seems fascinating, it is so much healthier to eat whole foods that take a little longer to cook at home.

Quit relying on the sweet keto snacks and desserts. Base your meals on whole foods made at home.

These recipes are the best idea to transition to clean keto when you don’t enjoy cooking. That’s because recipes don’t require much of your time.

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition Keto Reviews

The Truth Behind Lazy Keto

Lazy Keto is a popular adaptation of the Ketogenic diet. It’s often used for weight loss, and, as the name implies, it’s designed to be easy to understand.

The standard ketogenic diet requires calculating your caloric consumption and macros carefully. Doing so ensures that you achieve ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body burns fat as an energy source.

However, lazy Keto is far less complicated, as you only have to pay attention to your carb consumption.

In this post, we will walk you through the pros and cons of lazy Keto and how you can do it right.

What is Lazy Keto?

Lazy Keto is a less limiting version of the usual high-fat, very-low-carb ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet began in the 1920s as a medical approach to treating epilepsy. Recently, modifications of this diet, including lazy Keto, have become mainstream.

Traditional keto diets demand you to track your macronutrient consumption closely. You also need to follow a strict eating pattern that involves low carb, high fat, and moderate protein.

The aim is to induce ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body burns fat as its primary fuel source.

Like most adaptations of the ketogenic diet, lazy Keto restricts your carb consumption. Typically, carbs are limited to about 5–10% of your total daily calories — or about 20–50 grams per day for most people.

However, you don’t have to bother about tracking calories, protein, or fat on lazy Keto.

Health Benefits of Lazy Keto

The Ketogenic diet, in general, is believed to offer health benefits. However, there aren’t many studies about lazy Keto.

For example, various studies suggest that keto diets may support weight loss, potentially even more so than low-fat diets.

However, this effect is not unusual for keto diets. Investigations show that any diet that decreases calorie intake and is followed long term will likely begin to lose weight over time.

Even though lazy Keto doesn’t have any caloric limitations, studies suggest that this can help overcome food cravings. This may make it easier to lessen your calorie consumption without feeling hungry.

Additionally, it is believed that the keto diet can help develop blood sugar control for people with Type 2 diabetes. It also reduces the risk of heart disease.

However, conclusions are mixed, and the lazy keto diet has not been explicitly studied.

Keep in mind that the beneficial effects of keto diets are often attributed to being in ketosis. And this is achieved by measuring the level of ketones in the body.

The caveat is that people who do lazy ketone don’t know if they’re in ketosis. That’s because tracking caloric consumptions, macros, and measuring ketones are not required.

The Drawbacks

Like the regular keto diet, lazy Keto may steer dieters to experience the keto flu when transitioning to a keto diet. This involves symptoms of nausea, headache, fatigue, constipation, and dizziness.

Lazy Keto also has some other pitfalls worth noting.

You may not enter ketosis

Lazy Keto is encouraging to many because it’s less restrictive and easier to grasp than the traditional ketogenic diet.

The purpose of lazy Keto is to produce a metabolic state called ketosis, in which your body mainly burns fat for fuel. Researchers connect many of the potential health advantages of ketogenic diets to this metabolic state.

However, while on this simplified version of the keto diet, you may not reach a ketosis state, which has numerous signs and symptoms.

To enter ketosis, you have to critically restrict your carb and fat consumption and monitor your protein intake. That’s because your body can turn protein into glucose — a carbohydrate — in a process termed gluconeogenesis.

Consuming too much protein on lazy Keto could prevent ketosis altogether.

Calories and diet quality still matter

Focusing on your carb intake, as you would on lazy Keto, overlooks the importance of adequate calorie intake and diet quality.

A well-balanced diet that incorporates a wide variety of foods can supply your body with all the nutrients it needs for overall health.

Unfortunately, like the regular keto diet, lazy Keto restricts several nutrient-rich food groups. This includes starchy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. This may make it hard to gain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Also, it can be challenging to satisfy all your nutrient requirements when you reduce your calorie consumption. Therefore, it’s imperative to focus on consuming nutrient-rich food instead of decreasing your carb intake.

Lack of research behind long-term results

No studies have been led on lazy Keto specifically. Long-term investigations on similar diets are also insufficient.

There are matters that lazy Keto — and high-fat diets in general — may wreck heart health over time, despite the weight loss they may produce.

One analysis of 19 studies linked low-carb, high-fat diets with balanced weight-loss diets. It discovered they had related weight loss benefits and effectively decreased risk factors for heart disease after 1–2 years.

Another study found that low-carb, high-fat diets ended in more significant weight loss than low-fat diets in the long-term.

However, the researchers also discovered that high-fat diets could lead to higher cholesterol levels. This can increase your risk of heart disease.

That said, the nature of the fat you eat on a high-fat diet may create a big difference. If you’re on a Keto diet, it would be best to lean on fatty fish, nuts, and olive oil for fat sources. Doing so decreases the risk of heart disease.

Also, the long-term results of following ketogenic diets are unknown due to a shortage of long-term studies. It’s unclear if keto diets are harmless or helpful to follow over the years or decades.

Food to Eat on Lazy Keto

What can you eat on lazy Keto? In a nutshell, the lazy keto diet is a very low-carb diet. It also involves foods like meat, fish, eggs, healthy oils, and non-starchy vegetables that should give the bulk of your calories. 

Here’s a more comprehensive list of low-carb keto foods to include:

  • Performance fats like MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado, and fats are found naturally in meat, eggs, and fish.
  • Quality protein sources, such as poultry and pastured eggs, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, and full-fat cheeses.
  • Non-starchy, low-carb vegetables, such as leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like broccoli or cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, herbs, etc.
  • Fresh or dried herbs and spices.
  • Unsweetened keto drinks, including low-sugar green juices, water, seltzer, coffee, tea, or herbal tea.
  • Monk fruit or stevia extract instead of sugar to induce cravings for sweetness.

What’s Not to Eat on Lazy Keto?

  • Grains and products made with wheat/grain flours
  • Most fruit (berries can be eaten in smaller quantities)
  • Legumes or beans
  • Added sugar of all kind
  • All desserts
  • Sweetened dairy products
  • Soda, juices, and other sweetened drinks
  • Most starchy vegetables like beets, potatoes, and butternut squash.

Keep in mind that lazy Keto doesn’t distinguish between healthy, unprocessed fats and those that are inflammatory. To obtain the most benefits from the diet, refrain from highly-refined vegetable oils, pork rinds, sausage, bacon, and processed cheeses.

Lazo Keto Meal Plan

Now that you identify which foods to incorporate in lazy keto meals, let’s take a look at an example lazy keto diet meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Eggs cooked in oil or butter with sautéed veggies and sliced avocado. Another alternative is skipping breakfast altogether and doing intermittent fasting on Keto.
  • Lunch: Grass-fed burger with aged cheddar cheese, served over salad with dressing and pickled veggies.
  • Dinner: Wild-caught salmon, steak, or chicken cooked in butter or oil, served with sautéed veggies cooked in more butter/oil.
  • Keto snacks (optional): Deviled eggs with avocado, keto smoothies, a handful of nuts, or “keto fat bombs.”

Although there’s no need to track your food consumption, here are some broad tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re sticking to the correct keto macros:

  • Incorporate at least 1-2 servings of healthy fats with every meal.
  • Aim to consume small amounts of healthy protein sources throughout the day.
  • Eat numerous servings of veggies per day, ideally incorporating them with all meals.
  • Read ingredient labels thoroughly. This way, you avoid added sugar and carbs, plus difficult-to-pronounce chemical ingredients.
  • Consider using a keto supplement, such as exogenous ketones in the form of Keto FIRE, to help support you in getting into ketosis. Exogenous ketones, MCTs (medium-chain triglyceride fats), and adaptogens can all work together to boost your energy and athletic performance. It also supports healthy metabolism and promotes healthy weight management while on a keto diet.

Other Considerations

While it’s not indeed a “risk,” trying the lazy keto diet may make it more challenging to get into ketosis. Thus, it can be a challenge to acquire all the benefits of the traditional ketogenic diet. 

For example, if you aren’t consuming enough fat or consuming too much protein, your body may strive to make ketones. And we know that these are responsible for the many benefits of high-fat diets.

If you’re following lazy Keto and notice that you’re not achieving a healthy weight or you feel sluggish, then you have two options:

  1. Try a stricter, standard keto diet instead. This can help you get into ketosis, burn fat for energy, and experience many other benefits linked with ketone production.
  2. End following a low-carb diet altogether, and instead concentrate on enhancing the quality of diet overall (i.e., eat more whole foods, cut out processed foods, watch serving sizes, etc.).

Should You Try It?

Lazy Keto may be an alternative for those looking for a quick, short-term weight loss solution.

However, keto diets’ long-term results — particularly lazy Keto — are currently unclear due to a shortage of research.

Given that the diet limits many healthy foods, it may be challenging to get all the nutrients you need. This could lead to deficiencies and poor health over time.

Though studies advise keto diets may aid blood sugar control, those with type 2 diabetes should address lazy Keto with caution. 

Reducing your carb consumption can lead to severely low blood sugar levels if your medications aren’t adjusted.

Overall, make sure to discuss a healthcare provider, such as a registered dietitian, before trying lazy Keto. They can help you achieve the diet safely and effectively and guarantee that you meet all your nutrient needs.

Final Thoughts

A lazy keto is an appealing choice for those who find the traditional keto diet too limiting. While it limits carbs, there are no rules regarding your consumption of calories, protein, or fat.

Overall, lazy Keto may offer the same possible benefits as the traditional keto diet, at least in the short term. These involve decreased appetite, quick weight loss, and healthier blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.

Nonetheless, there are downsides to neglecting your consumption of calories, fat, and protein.

For one, you may not obtain the metabolic state of ketosis, to which many of the traditional keto diet’s benefits are associated. Also, lazy Keto has not been well analyzed and ignores the importance of overall diet quality.

Experts agree that if you’re going to do the lazy keto diet, it’s crucial you also highlight the quality of the food you eat. Still, it could help you shift to the traditional diet.

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition Keto Reviews

The Best Keto and Low-Carb Chicken Recipes

Chicken is an excellent protein source, and it’s a delicious choice when you’re on a low-carb or keto diet. It’s versatile and often preferred by eaters of all ages.

The chicken, as is, can be too meaty to be keto (especially chicken breast without skin). But with extra fat and some vegetables, you’re able to make fantastic ketogenic meals.

When you purchase chicken, it’s often a better deal to buy a whole chicken and divide it into pieces. Chicken breast is the leanest part, but it’s also the most expensive. Hence, we recommend that you opt for thighs if you’re strapped for a budget.

They often come more affordable, have more natural fat, and, therefore, more flavor.

Meanwhile, did you know that baked chicken skin is an excellent crispy snack? So, if you have some leftover chicken skin, there’s no need to toss it away. 

If you are looking for more keto-friendly chicken recipe ideas, check out our list below:

Oven-baked paprika chicken with rutabaga

So tasty and so versatile! This one-pot dish is amazingly delicious. It boasts juicy chicken snuggled into hearty chunks of rutabaga with the colorful glow of paprika.

Mind you; the rutabaga is as colorful as it is modest in carbs. Thus, this can be your “go-to” weeknight dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs (bone-in with skin) or chicken drumsticks
  • 2 lbs rutabaga or celery root, peeled and cut into 2″ (5 cm) pieces
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
For Garlic and paprika mayo
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the chicken and the rutabaga in a baking dish. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika powder. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well.
  3. Bake in the oven until the chicken is well done, about 40 minutes. Lower the heat towards the end of the chicken or rutabaga is getting too golden brown.
  4. Mix the mayonnaise with seasoning and serve together with the roasted chicken and rutabaga.

Keto chicken wings with creamy broccoli

This is an easy-to-make crowd pleaser! These delicate chicken wings hit the spot and served with creamy broccoli; they make for a great weeknight dinner.

Ingredients 

Baked chicken wings
  • ½ orange, juice, and zest
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 lbs chicken wings
Creamy broccoli
  • 1½ lbs broccoli
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Mix juice and zest from the orange with oil and spices in a small bowl. Place the chicken wings in a plastic bag and pour in the marinade.
  3. Give the bag a good shake to cover the wings thoroughly. Put aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes but preferably more.
  4. Place the wings in one layer in a greased baking dish or on a broiler rack for extra crispiness.
  5. Bake on middle rack in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the wings are golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
  6. In the meantime, divide the broccoli into small florets and parboil in salted water for a couple of minutes. They’re only supposed to soften a bit but not lose their shape or color.
  7. Strain the broccoli and let some of the steam evaporate before adding the remaining ingredients. Serve the broccoli with the baked wings.

Indian keto chicken korma

Chicken korma is a typical Indian dish with dozens of different variations. However, they all have one thing in common: they are all oh so abundant of flavor, and we want them now!

Here is a keto version of this great Indian dish made with chicken and cooked in creamy onion gravy with spices’ arsenal.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Greek yogurt
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-star anise
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1½ lbs chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • ½ tsp garam masala seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish 

Preparation

  1. Heat the ghee in a wok or non-stick saucepan and deep-fry the onions on low-medium heat until they get a nice golden brown color.
  2. Remove the fried onions from the pan. Mix yogurt with the onions in a blender to get a creamy paste.
  3. Reheat the ghee in the saucepan. Once it gets hot, add cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise, green cardamom pods, and black peppercorns. Fry for 30 seconds or until they start to sizzle.
  4. Add the chicken drumsticks. Season thoroughly with salt. Add the ginger-garlic paste, combine well and fry for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and cumin powder. Combine well and fry for two more minutes.
  6. Add the fried onion yogurt paste, combine well. Add some water. You can use the water to rinse out the blender, so don’t waste any paste. Mix well.
  7. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender.
  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Keto chicken casserole

Keto and casseroles go hand in hand, particularly when it comes to this tempting chicken recipe that will make your entire family swoon. The cream sauce is hearty, cheesy, and packed with yummy pesto. Your oven will feel privileged to bake this tasty goodness for you over and over again.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream or sour cream
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp green pesto
  • ½ lemon, the juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1½ oz. butter
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 9 oz. leeks, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 lb cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups shredded cheese 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Mix cream and cream cheese with pesto and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and fry until they turn a nice golden brown.
  4. Place the chicken in a greased 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish, and pour in the cream mixture.
  5. Top chicken with leek, tomatoes, and cauliflower.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on top and place the pan in the middle rack to bake for at least 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

NOTE: If the casserole is at risk of burning before it’s done, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil, lower the heat and let cook for a little longer.

Keto fajita chicken casserole

Onions and peppers. Chicken and cheese. All made possible with Tex-Mex flavors. Our quick and straightforward keto fajita casserole is a no-brainer for busy weeknights. Because FAJITAS.. but easier and cheesier.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ lbs cooked chicken
  • 7 oz. cream cheese
  • 1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp Tex-Mex seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper
Serving
  • 5 oz. lettuce
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Chop the onions and the peppers.
  3. Mix everything except for a third of the shredded cheese in a greased baking dish.
  4. Add the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Serve with leafy greens dressed in olive oil.

Low-carb imperial rice

Arroz Imperial is a Cuban casserole. It is created by layering yellow rice, chicken fricassee, mayonnaise, and cheese. And this labor-intensive dish got a low-carb and straightforward makeover.

Ingredients

Chicken
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce or pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (preferably with avocado oil)
Cauliflower rice
  • 8 oz. riced cauliflower
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
Cashew cheese
  • 2 oz. soaked raw cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup avocado oil 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Mix the shredded chicken with the tomato or pumpkin puree and seasonings and set aside.
  3. Mix the cauliflower rice with turmeric, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
  4. Make the cheese. Combine all of the cashew cheese ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. To assemble the casserole, use a 6 x 6 inch (15 x 15 cm) glass casserole dish. Spoon half of the cauliflower rice into it and flatten it down to the bottom of the dish. Spread two tablespoons of mayo over the cauliflower rice.
  6. Add half of the chicken over the mayo and spread it out evenly.
  7. Spoon half of the cashew cheese over the chicken evenly. Repeat again, rice, mayo, chicken, cheese.
  8. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and browned along the edges.

Keto no-noodle chicken soup

Created with healing bone broth, this keto chicken no-noodle soup with healthy cabbage is warm and comforting. You can have this during the cold weather or when you’re nursing a cold.

Ingredient

  • 4 oz. butter
  • 2 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 oz. carrots, sliced
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ rotisserie chicken*, shredded
  • 5 oz. green cabbage, cut into strips 

Preparation

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add dried onion, chopped celery, sliced mushrooms, and garlic into the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add broth, sliced carrot, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add cooked chicken and cabbage. Simmer for an additional 8-12 minutes until the cabbage “noodles” is tender.

Keto Indian butter chicken

Butter chicken is one of our favorite Indian dishes, and we know we’re not the only ones! We invite you to try the keto version of this fabulous butter chicken, served with oven-roasted cauliflower.

Ingredients 

Indian butter chicken
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala seasoning
  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 oz. butter or ghee
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, for serving (optional)
Oven-roasted cauliflower
  • 1 lb cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tbsp coriander seed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. butter 

Preparation

Indian butter chicken
  1. Add tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, tomato paste, and spices in a food processor. Mix until smooth. Add the cream and mix for a couple of seconds.
  2. Marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 20 minutes, but preferably more, in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat a third of the butter over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserve the marinade), and fry in the butter for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken and add the rest of the butter. Let simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Salt to taste.
  5. Garnish with fresh cilantro and drizzle with a splash of cream.
Oven-roasted cauliflower
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Spread the cauliflower out into an even layer in a large sheet pan.
  3. Season with spices and butter. Bake for 15 minutes.

Chicken and zucchini curry soup

The warm and delightful curry scent that fills the house when you make this bright, fresh low-carb soup is overwhelming. Tender chicken and crispy zucchini are the favorites of this coconut-infused flavor wonder!

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 white onions, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley or fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¾ lb chicken breasts (without skin), cut into small pieces
  • 11 oz. zucchini, thinly sliced
  • salt and ground black pepper 

Preparation

  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook over low heat, stirring frequently. Do not let the onion turn brown.
  2. Add the coconut milk, water, the curry paste, and the parsley. Simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Mix well, then add the chicken and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. While the soup is cooking, heat the rest of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook until just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Right before serving, add the zucchini to the soup. Enjoy!

Keto Caesar salad

A true keto salad classic: moist chicken and crispy bacon are served on a bed of crunchy Romaine lettuce. In our version, we don’t sacrifice the dressing or the parmesan cheese!

Ingredients 

Dressing
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ lemon, zest, and juice
  • ¼ cup grated, shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped filets of anchovies
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Salad
  • 12 oz. chicken breasts, bone-in with skin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz. bacon
  • 7 oz. Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Mix the ingredients for the dressing with a whisk or an immersion blender. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking dish. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil or melted butter on top.
  4. Bake the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes or until fully cooked through. You can also cook the chicken on the stovetop if you prefer.
  5. Fry the bacon until crisp. Place lettuce as a base on two plates. Top with sliced chicken and the crispy, crumbled bacon.
  6. Finish with a generous dollop of dressing and a good grating of parmesan cheese.

Final Thoughts

The keto diet may be all about the fat, but that doesn’t mean that protein doesn’t play an important role.

Too much of it, and you’re no longer in ketosis. Too little, and you risk shedding muscle mass.

And what’s one of the most common, accessible, and easy-to-cook proteins available? Chicken, of course.

So while you’re busy cooking everything in butter, don’t forget that 10 to 35 percent of your calorie consumption should be coming from a protein source.

Categories
Keto Facts Keto Nutrition

The Best Keto-Friendly Restaurants

Adhering to a Keto diet when eating out can pose some unprecedented challenges besides munching on a bunch of fries. 

First, the portions are skewed. The protein can be too massive, and there are few vegetables, making the meal you ordered unreliable. Plus, restaurant food can come with hidden ingredients.

Understanding Macronutrient Ratios in Meals

There are certain types of a keto diet, and they all depend on strict macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein) computations.

Generally, the medical keto diet used to treat epilepsy advises 3 to 4 grams (g) of fat for every 1 g of carbohydrate and protein. This means that you’re getting 90 percent of your calories from fat, 6 percent from protein, and 4 percent from carbs. 

Meanwhile, a modified Atkins diet has no protein limitation. Hence, you can have about 65 percent fat, 30 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. When it gets to keto for weight loss, you might eat 70 to 80 percent of calories from fat, 10 to 20 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from fat.

Calculating Net Carbs and Ketones

Many people on keto use net carbs when measuring their carb consumption.

According to Atkins, you can determine your net carbs by taking total carbohydrates minus grams of fiber and sugar alcohols. Your net carbs are what influences your blood sugar level and can jeopardize weight loss.

But keep in mind that neither the federal government nor the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics identifies this term. Dietitians also agree that calculating net carbs is not an exact science.

This is why it would be best to consult a dietitian if you plan to do the Keto diet. This is to create a personalized plan that allows you to hit a specific macronutrient target.

Tips for Dining Out on a Keto Diet

Sure, doing the Keto diet may appear daunting. But because of its growing popularity, many restaurants are becoming open to this kind of diet. Some chains have even come up with menu selections specifically catered to keto dieters.

However, you may need to customize your meals to ensure that you are hitting your macro ratio.

That said, it would be best to begin with a base of a cooked protein like poultry, fish, or grilled meat without sauce. And then mix it with a non-starchy vegetable. Next is to add healthy fats into the mix.

In general, smart picks incorporate a bunless burger over a bed of greens with lemon and olive oil or avocado. Moreover, steak tips, grilled fish, and bunless sandwiches are served with salad. Other options are broccoli or cauliflower rice.

Keep in mind that a healthy restaurant eating while on keto is possible. That is if you know where to go.

Applebee’s

For a healthy, keto-friendly meal, opt for grilled lean meat and veggies.

You’d be surprised that other chicken recipes load up on carbohydrates (some carry upwards of 50 g). You can run for the steamed broccoli here, but if you want to turn it up, the fire-grilled veggies add a good 6 g of net carbs. To add fat (to make the meal fall precisely into keto range), request a side of guacamole to top your chicken.

Blaze Pizza

In most places, you’d have to skip the crust to eat a keto-friendly pizza. But this fast-casual pizza chain newly advertised its keto pizza crust, so no one has to miss out on a Pizza Friday.

Go for their Keto pizza. Its crust is created from a base of cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, flaxseed, and eggs. Then it’s coated with their spicy red sauce, more mozzarella, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, and more veggies, but you can turn up the toppings as you please. 

Ordered as is, you won’t get adequate calories from fat to enter keto status, so be sure to order extra cheese and bacon, as well as olive oil and a drizzle of pesto.

Those additions will make this plate up to 63 percent of your calories from fat. Bonus: Every slice offers 2 g of fiber — not bad! 

Chili’s

The simplest options are the best here. Steak added with green veggie is one perfect keto combo.

Go for the Classic Sirloin With Side of Steamed Broccoli. Opt for the smaller, 6-ounce (oz) portion (versus the 10-oz serving) to keep protein in check. This is a great chance to add a source of digestion-friendly fiber with the broccoli (4 g of fiber).

To make this up to keto-friendly status, add a drizzle (about one tablespoon) of olive oil.

Starbucks

Prepared sandwiches and salads are hard to customize, but there are many protein- and fat-heavy alternatives to turn to.

If you resemble a zero-carb bite, this mini salami-cheese tray is it. Unfortunately, there’s no produce on this plate, so make sure to take in veggies elsewhere during the day.

The traditional snack combo will help keep you pleasantly full, and the average amount of protein won’t ruin your macros for the day.

Outback Steakhouse

A steakhouse is instead a prominent place to find a keto-compliant meal. You’re better off taking the smaller steak or fish meal to keep protein in check and pairing with a nonstarchy veggie side.

Try their 5-oz Grilled Lobster Tail With Roasted Butter Garlic Topping and Sautéed’ Shrooms.

This dish is a complete special-occasion indulgence, but most of the net carbs grow from the addition of mushrooms. Don’t forget to combine the roasted garlic butter topping to up your fat, which adds 18 g.

Olive Garden

Don’t think you have to be boxed into buying pasta at Olive Garden (and eating a couple of breadsticks on the side).

The restaurant suggests their grilled salmon fillet, served with a drippy tab of garlic herb butter on top. Parmesan-garlic broccoli spins out the meal. You’ll be offered a variety of soup or side salad, and in this case, the salad is your best chance.

Watch portions, though, as a portion of salad with Italian dressing adds another 11 g of net carbs.

IHOP

Disregard the sea of pancakes and crepes, and get on board with a DIY piece.

Adding avocado and spinach offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. It also has vitamin K, which is crucial for healthy bones. However, you should skip the carb-laden sides like pancakes and toasts.

TGI Fridays

The restaurant may be perfectly suited for happy hour apps, but you’re best served to evade these.

A “green style” cheeseburger has 7g net carbs. You can add avocado on top for zero net carbs and a dose of healthy fat. Moreover, the green style cheeseburger might be an excellent time to get in more veggies when you can. 

Go for the lunch part — full-size salads here quickly top 1,000 calories. Ranch dressing is a good option, carb-wise, with only 2 g of net carbs. Other keto-friendly choices are blue cheese and Caesar. Just avoid the balsamic vinaigrette, which holds 11 g of net carbs.

The Cheesecake Factory

First, let’s get this out of the way: Cheesecakes may be high in fat, but they’re also packed with sugar (carbs). So completing the meal with a slice is out on the keto diet.

You also have to be very cautious with this menu, as some choices near 200 g of total carbs. Breakfast is a bit easier, as omelets and eggs are both choices.

Try their Pan-Seared Branzino With Lemon Butter. This tasty white fish gets jacked up in the fat department with a creamy butter sauce. If the calorie count and macros — including net carbs — are higher than you’re striving for, eat half and take home the rest.

Buffalo Wild Wings

You don’t have to shy away from the wings here. An order includes no carbs until you add the sauce. For the most desirable sauce, stick with the simple classics: hot, medium, or mild.

A bunless burger or grilled chicken breast, plus cheese and mustard, is another excellent choice.

Try their Traditional Wings and Celery Sticks. Each plate carries a wallop of protein, so opt for the snack-size serving size, and then match them with refreshing celery and blue cheese.

Smoothie King

If you’re looking for a light, fresh meal, a smoothie may be your go-to.

The problem is, most smoothies prepared with milk, yogurt, juice, and fruit contain far too many carbs for a keto diet. Smoothie King just started their two keto-friendly smoothies, the Keto Champ Coffee and Keto Champ Berry. The coffee variant has fewer carbs of the two.

Opt for the Keto Champ Coffee, made with almond milk, coffee, almond butter, cocoa, and a keto protein blend. Doing so means you’ll take in just 1g of extra sugar, 7g of fiber, and only 7g of net carbs.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Pass over Italian apps like bruschetta in favor of grilled asparagus with prosciutto for a total of 4 g net carbs.

As for your entrée, chicken, steaks, or fish is your best bet, but watch out for sauces and sides that jack up carbs. A green veggie side will round out the meal, and a drizzle of olive oil will get your fat portion up to where it needs to be. 

Try their Chicken Marsala. Grilled chicken is smothered in a mushroom-wine sauce. Steamed asparagus will bulk up the meal for a few carbs.

Red Lobster

With a little preparation, you can eat well at the classic seafood restaurant.

Take advantage of their interactive menu online. This will allow you to sort each category from least to most carbohydrate content. Fresh seafood (unbreaded shrimp, lobster, crab) and grilled fish are all low-carb choices — and dipping or slathering it in butter adds fat.

Their keto choice, Wild-Caught Snow Crab Legs With Asparagus. Focusing on crab legs — dipped in butter, no less — you’re keeping carbs at the bare minimum. With your choice of side, go for fresh asparagus, which has the fewest net carbs and added fat.

California Pizza Kitchen

Salads are your best bet at CPK because, unfortunately, even a slice of gluten-free pizza can eat up most of your carb allotment for the day.

Go for the Asparagus and Arugula Salad, With Extra Olive Oil. This is a great chance to get various greens (asparagus and arugula), plus healthy fats from the toasted almonds.

This comes dressed in a lemon vinaigrette, adding more fat and calories by ordering a side of their herb-infused olive oil.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Sausage and biscuits, gravy, pancake plates, and grits are all traditional offerings at Cracker Barrel that you’ll have to skip right over.

The good news here is that it’s easy to mix and match your plate with an entrée and sides to choose low-carb options and get the right mix of macros you need.

Try the Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout With Steamed Broccoli and Turnip Greens

A trout is a higher-in-fat option than catfish (another keto choice). And the addition of a greenside means you’re getting a non-starchy veggie on your plate. Adding butter to this meal adds 4g fat per tab.

Maggiano’s Little Italy

Pasta places are rife with crave-worthy high-carb dishes. If you can get past those (and the breadbasket), you have good options.

Try the Grilled Salmon Lemon and Herbs. The grilled fillet is bathed in a white wine butter sauce and served alongside spinach. At 800 calories, though, you could easily save half for tomorrow’s lunch.

Bonefish Grill

A fish and seafood restaurant is a prime place to find an excellent keto meal. Generally, avoid anything fried or breaded in favor of grilled. Rather than sauces (which can be a surprising source of carbs), add butter or olive oil on your own.

Their keto option, Grilled Atlantic Salmon With Green Beans, has Salmon, which is naturally fatty. It is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If 50 g of protein is too high, eat half. Ordering lemon butter as a topping adds 6 g of fat. Make green beans your side to get in veggies for minimal carbs.

Boston Market

The classic chicken place serves you well when you choose basic chicken and veggies. Skip the bread and sauce; they can quickly put you over your carb allotment.

Try the Rotisserie Chicken and Caesar Salad and go for the three-piece dark meat meal (dark meat contains more fat than white breast meat). You could also choose steamed veggies, cucumber salad, or creamed spinach.

But if you want to up your fat consumption, go for the Caesar salad minus the croutons.

Portillo’s

Head to the “Nudies” menu of this popular hotdog chain. There, you’ll find chicken, sausage, burger patties, and fish that you can top with a source of fat and side at your discretion.

Their keto choice is the “Nudie” Grilled Tuna. Brats and sausage contain more fat, although saturated.

Grilled yellow-fin tuna, on the other hand, offers some healthy omega-3s. Consider eating half of the tuna steak to keep protein in check.

To bump up this meal’s fat content, head over to the salad section and order a side of olives or get a side salad and douse with olive oil and vinegar.

Au Bon Pain

You can belly up to the hot or cold lunch bar for options like adobo chicken or beef and broccoli. But if you need something to-go, opt for their all-day breakfast options made keto-friendly.

Try their 2 Eggs, Cheddar, and Sausage recipe. This option comes on a bagel, so ask them to skip the bread entirely, and grab a fork when you feast. Remember to choose whole eggs to keep the fat content higher, as egg whites are fat-free.

Final Thoughts

Turning to a low-carb diet can be challenging. Most people don’t understand just how many carbs they’re ingesting or the impact it’s having on their digestive health and weight.

That said, an increasing fraction of restaurants are tailoring menus to low-carb eating. And, to be sure, low-carb consumption isn’t for everyone, and everyone should check with a doctor before any significant dietary changes.