5 Things to Remember when Starting a Keto Lifestyle

The road to shedding weight is a tough one, no argument there. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  When you combine amazing high quality gut health supplements with a keto style of eating, it is much easier to shed weight and also see a host of other issues improve for the long term.

Our body is thrown into another state called ketosis- the process of using fat for fuel instead of starches- when we change the way we eat, especially when we reduce the intake of a particular nutrient, like carbohydrates. This is why you need to be very much acquainted with the proper way to transition to a keto lifestyle so that you avoid some of the pitfalls.

Before embarking on any low carb/keto lifestyle, here are five considerations to take into consideration.

  • Use of Supplements: Good gut health supplements are a must for every human on the planet. Why?  Soil depletion, lack of nutrients in food due to farming and growing styles, toxins in the environment, prescription meds we take, and more.   Supplements are needed to boost your nutrient levels and avoid damage to the body and to keep the gut balanced and healthy so that it can absorb all of the nutrients possible. Bare minimum should be a quality methylated multi-vitamin, a probiotic with enzymes and anti-fungals that is NOT refrigerated, magnesium, and a prebiotic.  I suggest the line of plant-based gut health supplements from Plexus for best quality and sourcing.  Please be cautious of not so natural ingredients in your supplements.
  • Water intake: Low carb/keto lifestyles are effective because they kick in the fat burning process known as “dietary ketosis” which is a great natural appetite suppressant. When ketones are produced by the body in large amounts, the body needs more water. Lots of water is also important for flushing out the toxins that you are detoxing from using your gut health supplements.mineral-water-lime-ice-mint-158821.jpeg Feel free to add lemon and lime and anything non-caloric or sugary to your water to enhance flavor.  I love mint leaves in mine or mint extract on the go.
  • Constipation: You need to be aware that low carb lifestyles are associated with constipation. This is due to the imbalance in the gut as well as change you will experience when you start eating less carbs. This is why it is critical to be consistent on your magnesium and to add flax seed and good fats to the diet in larger amounts than before. Indulge in high fiber vegetables daily!  We do not eat enough plants in America so fill your plate with green veggies and other non-starchy veggies.  As you add fats and veggies and stay faithful on supplements, this issue should resolve itself.
  • Long-Term Lifestyle Change: When you begin a keto lifestyle, you will notice that you will lose a lot of water weight at first. This is because our high carb and processed food diet that is also high in sugar causes major inflammation and water retention. At some point this weight loss may plateau, or slow down. However, it is critical to not quit because you feel the lifestyle is no longer working. This is the worst thing you can do, because gut health and keto is a lifestyle for long term health as opposed to a quick fix. Stay faithful on your supplements and faithful on your eating plan and things will move!  Be sure to exercise as much as possible.
  • Detox: Low carb/keto lifestyles can be very discomforting, especially during the first 2 weeks. You may experience low energy levels, grumpiness, and a nerve wracking lethargic feeling. It will seem like your body doesn’t function as it used to when you were still allowed to eat pastries and pasta. This is normal, and in the Ketogenic world this is referred to as keto flu. This typically passes in about two weeks as your body adapts to the healthy new balance in your gut and moves into ketosis where the body begins to burn fat for fuel. pexels-photo-941540.jpegTo make detox less harsh, stay VERY faithful on supplements and you may need some extra probiotics. Add a little bit more caffeine- NATURAL like in coffee and tea NOT synthetic as in energy drinks and shots.  Synthetic caffeine is extremely unhealthy.

To sum it all up, always remember that keto lifestyles are easy to embark on if you have your plan right and have done your research. Avoid all starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, flour and sugar. Also ditch the cereals! Stay away from the soda; purge your fridge of them if you still have any, before embarking on your low carb/keto journey.

Be careful not to fall for quick fix scams like fake exogenous ketones, powders that promise to put you into ketosis, diet pills or patches, or supplements with synthetic caffeine.  These are not only a waste of money, but often extremely unsafe and with dangerous ingredients like bitter orange, synephrine, and more.  Getting into ketosis is done naturally through your diet, a healthy gut, or with a healthy gut and the use of MCT oil or coconut oil.

It’s a great idea to plan meals ahead of time and find support from friends.  It may also be a good idea to consult with a nutritionist. My nutrition clients use the best gut health regimen out there and we have a wonderful online support group.  Remember that long term health changes require a real desire to change your life and health, and there are no quick fixes out there.

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

 

Eating out on a Low Carb or Keto Lifestyle

In a world where most food in restaurants tends to be processed and full of carbs and sugar, trying to eat healthy and still enjoy eating out can be stressful. However, with a little bit of knowledge, it is very easy to adapt food from almost any cuisine at any restaurant to suit a low carb or keto way of eating.

Just remembering three things will keep you on track when you eat out:

  1. Know what you can eat, and what to avoid!
  2. Plan ahead!
  3. Stick to your guns!

Eating low carb means you actually have a lot of flexibility with your food. Knowing which foods to avoid makes it easier to eat out without trying to guess what is acceptable. Great choices to look for when eating out include meats that are not breaded or battered, vegetables, salads, and fish that is not battered. Potatoes are pure starch that turns to sugar and must be off the menu, but why not try extra veggies instead?

Consider eating ‘outside the box’. If you want a juicy burger, go ahead and have it, without the bun. Replace the fries with carrot sticks for low carb eating or a green veggie for keto eating to round out your meal.asparagus-barbecue-bbq-675951 for some melted butter for that steak or chicken or fish.  BUT- make sure it is real butter.  Not whipped spread made from oil and chemicals. Salads offer unlimited options, as almost any meats and vegetables can be thrown in, and many restaurants offer some type of salad on their menu. Steak and mixed vegetables are always a great choice, and tasty, too!

Perhaps the most overlooked key to successfully eating out on a low carb lifestyle is planning ahead. This simple step can save a lot of stress and worry. You already know what you can eat, so the next step is finding out what is on the menu at the place you want to eat at. Go online to view menus ahead of time. You can even call the restaurant and ask questions about food preparation and ingredients. blur-breakfast-chef-262978This way, you will be armed with the info needed to make good food choices. This step eliminates the stress and worry over what you’ll order once you arrive, so you will be able to focus on enjoying your meal! With so many doctors and health professionals realizing that a low carbohydrate lifestyle is the way to go, many restaurants are upping their game with both low carb and in bigger cities keto options on the menu. Look for this trend to continue as the months and years go by and more and more research is available on the health benefits of a low carb lifestyle.

The most important thing you can do when eating out low carb is to stick to it. Many are tempted by the bread basket, teased by the desert tray, and give in to the pressure to be ‘normal’. Maybe you don’t want to seem demanding. Whatever the reason, just remember, you deserve to feel healthy and be happy. If it helps, consider your low carb lifestyle the same as anyone that requires a special diet for a medical condition. There will be some foods you just can’t eat, but don’t be afraid to ask for the ones you can! For most people, once they have been low carb for a longer period of time, the health benefits and the way their bodies feel are so amazing that the temptation to eat the things that make our bodies less functional seems to go away.

Always remember that for optimal health, you need a combination of a healthy diet mostly void of sugar and processed food and starchy food, amazing gut health supplements, as much exercise as you can get in, and a happy mind and soul.

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

Citrus Butter Garlic Chicken and Asparagus

This is a yummy one skillet meal that we made on our Facebook Live cooking show tonight!  You can see that recipe video here! 

I love this because it is fast and easy and doesnt dirty up ten pots and pans!  You can make this after work in less than 20 minutes!

Here are the ingredients!

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts butterflied if thick.

1 bundle of thin asparagus

1 fresh naval orange

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp grass fed butter

6 cloves of fresh garlic

salt and pepper to taste

 

Break ends off asparagus to desired length.  Cut orange into four quarters.  Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet.  Add the garlic to the skillet and take the knife and pop each clove to release flavor as seen in the video before adding to pan.  Add asparagus to one side of skillet and the 2 chicken breasts to the other.  Tilt pan and baste asparagus as well as the chicken breasts.  Sear each side of the chicken.  Add salt and pepper to chicken and vegetables and squeeze the juice of one quarter of the orange on chicken and one quarter on the asparagus.  Cook chicken until juices run clear turning over every couple of minutes.  Keep basting with the juices in the pan. Be sure not to overcook the chicken as it will dry out and be tough.  Just before plating, squeeze the other two pieces of orange onto the chicken and veggies and serve!

This is a great meal with a nice salad on the side!

Enjoy!

XOXO

Erin and Ben

 

Low Carb Lasagna

Lasagna is known as comfort food.  Unfortunately many comfort foods can be high in carbs.  Chef Ben and myself have a fun twist on traditional lasagna that replaces the pasta sheets with Joseph’s Bakery high fiber low carb lavash bread sheets

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This is a yummy healthy alternative to traditional lasagna that will convert to SUGAR and get stored as fat!

We made this on a Facebook live that you can watch here!  We do a LIVE cooking segment on our Nutrition page each Tuesday night at 8pm CST!

Here are the ingredients:

1 pack of Joseph’s Lavash bread
6 cans Fire roasted diced tomatoes
16oz container Ricotta cheese
3 lbs. Ground beef
8oz container Grated Parmesan
32 oz. shredded Mozzarella
2-3 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 onions
2 tbsp chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

 

Brown the ground meat with the chopped onions and salt and pepper then drain.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste and cook down for 15 minutes.

Spray your 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Layer a thin layer of meat, making sure the liquid is well-drained from the meat mixture or else you will have runny lasagna. Then spoon on Ricotta cheese, then sprinkle parmesan lightly and a very light layer of Mozzarella. Then put strips of lavash as you would regular lasagna pasta strips. Keep layering until dish is full, usually three full layers.  Then add a little more of the meat mixture on top and top with mozzarella and parmesan and you are ready to bake!

Bake for 30 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.  Add a nice green salad and you have a wonderful balanced meal!

Enjoy!

XOXO

Erin and Ben

 

If you REALLY love your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! There are two distinct camps when it comes to celebrating this holiday. Many, like me, love this holiday and thinks it’s adorable! And there is the anti-Valentine’s Day camp who think it’s holiday created by the greeting card companies to take our money.

Somehow over the last few decades, we have turned our Holidays into Foodidays (Yep! I just invented that word). Meaning that whether it’s Christmas, Birthdays, St. Patrick’s or Valentines it has become inextricably linked to FOOD.

Before Christmas even passed, stores start receiving boxes and boxes of pink and red candies. I’m not sure why our expression of love on Valentine’s Day has become wrapped up in giving out artificial foods!valentinecrap

Making our holidays about giving sugar heavy treats sends the opposite message than what we are trying to say. What is actually coming in a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates are processed chemicals, causing damage to our gut bacteria, and sugar which can causes more illness than smoking.

Many of you might be rolling your eyes right now and saying “It’s just once a year”, or “They’re just kids”. But is it really only one day a year your kid eats sugar heavy treats? Most likely not.

Our culture has shifted dramatically. I remember stories from my Grandmother of maybe once a month, going to the corner store to get a Coke. The unfortunate truth is that once a year has turned into once a day for many and at least once a week for most. 50 years ago the average American ate approximately 4 pounds of sugar per year. NOW, we eat approximately 156 pounds per year as of 2015.

Our bodies were not designed by God to handle and process this amount of sugar. Excess sugar is just as toxic to the liver as alcohol causing many to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease even though they abstain from alcohol. Sugar is the most inflammatory thing you can put into your body and is not just the root cause of metabolic syndrome, but now scientists are calling Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes.

Let’s break the cycle with this generation by making wise choices. Here are some of my favorite ideas to turn Valentines Foodidays back into a Holiday expressing our love for one another!

SPOUSE:

1. Cooking a healthy meal together. Keep it fun and don’t take it too seriously. Use it as a time to discover new foods and try unique recipes.

2. Study God’s word as a couple. Going hand in hand with keeping our bodies as a temple, make a conscious effort to start the habit this valentines day. bible-hearts-18066504You could even start with Song of Songs, a great book that focuses on biblical love and intimacy.

3. Make them a gift! I will never forget the year Ben took an old mirror, which had sentimental meaning for me after Katrina, and turned it into a jewelry holder. One year I got a jar with 365 things he loved about me with instructions to open one a day for a year. The choices are endless and you might have the supplies needed already at home.

4. Give them the gift of time. Block out a few hours to intentionally spend time with your Spouse. Whether it costs money such as going to dinner, movie or a concert. You could also choose something more inexpensive like a scenic walk or look into the free days offered at your local art museum.

KIDS:

1. Cook WITH them! Having kids in the kitchen can seem like a headache but I promise it is so rewarding. My granddaughter loves to make almond flour banana bread with us. Kids love getting involved! Having them help you shop and prepare a meal is an easy way to teach them about their food choices.

2. Get crafty. Pinterest is full of ideas that are simple an easy. A great substitute for the traditional candy gift.

3. Have a family date night. Get the whole crew together for a fun dinner out or a matinee movie. Or get your family active by going to a Trampoline Park or the skating rink.

4. Sugar-Free Gift Ideas: For older kids gift cards can be a huge hit. Whether a clothing store or even a gas gift card let’s them have some ownership in choosing the most appropriate gift. For the younger kids there a ton of heart-themed gift options. Stuffed animals, valentine socks, crazy heart leggings, or earrings. You can even find some great choices in the Dollar Spot!

5. Build something together. No matter your gender, your kid will love this. Make a woodworking project. There are great kits available at most craft stores. Also many Home Improvement stores offer weekend classes to make and take an item for yourself!

I’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg with healthy ways to say “I LOVE YOU”! When my husband writes me a love note or makes me something it expresses affection deeper than an expensive gift or a heart shaped box of candies. What are some of your favorite Valentine’s alternatives?

In Health!

XOXO

Erin

Ansley’s almond flour banana bread

My six year old granddaughter Ansley loves to cook.  Back when her dad and the rest of my kids were younger, I was still a 350lb food addict who knew zero about nutrition.  I feel like I am getting a do-over in the healthy department with her.  She is really developing a love for cooking.  We did our own tweak of a banana bread recipe my best friend Tammy found.  We added a few things and took out a few and this is the result!  This is the first loaf of bread  Ansley made!  No sugar or wheat products used! Low carb and healthy!

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cups Kerrygold or any grass-fed butter at room temperature

2 eggs at room temperature

1 cup of Stevia or Splenda

3 medium bananas mashed

2 cups of almond flour

1.5 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 cup ground flax seed

1 cup of walnuts (optional)

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Ansley mixing the butter and eggs and Stevia

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to  350 degrees and grease and flour a bread pan.

In a bowl mix the eggs, butter, and Stevia until smooth and creamy.

Add the mashed bananas and stir together.

Add all the other ingredients except for the walnuts  and mix  together well.

Fold in the walnuts

Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for 60-70 minutes until golden brown and the center is dry to a toothpick.  Ovens will vary.  Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan and place on a plate to cool.

Enjoy!

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My Ansley had a blast making this and it has become a weekly favorite in our house!  Loaded with protein and fiber and nutrients and very low in carbohydrates and sugar!

XOXO

Erin

Breakfast Egg Muffins

These are a favorite at my house ad we made them on a Facebook live for our Tuesday Let’s Get Cookin’ segment on my nutrition page.  You can watch the LIVE here!

Sausage Egg Muffins

Ingredients

You need a 6 hole muffin tin

6 eggs

Shredded cheddar

1/4 lb of Smoked sausage cut into medallions

Salt and pepper to taste (You can also use shredded chicken, shrimp, or any protein that you like)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.  Cover bottom of each section with a layer of sausage (5 medallions).  Then sprinkle shredded cheddar on the sausage. Then crack one egg into each tin section.  Add salt and pepper to taste on the top and then bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the yolks are at your desired consistency.  Runnier yolks 12-15 minutes and harder yolks would be 17-20 minutes.

You can always add veggies to this recipe as desired!

 

Veggie Egg Muffins

Ingredients

You need a 6 hole Muffin tin

6 eggs

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup chopped Greek olives

1/4 cup chopped bell peppers

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray tin with nonstick spray.  Cover bottom with a layer of vegetables. ( Feel free to add as many different veggies as you want on the bottom such as tomatoes, mushrooms or spinach) Sprinkle feta in a layer on top of veggies. Crack one egg into each tin. Season top with salt and pepper to taste and then bake for 12 to 15 minutes until desired yolk consistency. Again bake closer to 20 minutes for firmer yolks.

 

Enjoy!

XOXO

Erin