A Holistic Approach…

Ketogenic Restaurant Grand Opening!

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If I were a restaurateur I would be working on making this happen but, alas, I’m patiently waiting for the day I see this headline. I’ve been thinking, now that I’m trying to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle, all we really need are some tweaks to the meals we already eat and those most accessible, especially the things that have become such a huge staple in our diets – potatoes, rice, pasta, bread.

 

As I said before, I’m still researching any potential downsides or even risks of the ketogenic diet and the only thing I have found is how some women are unable to maintain weight loss on the diet due to hormones. It has been difficult to find definitive information on this so all I can really surmise is more studies are needed. I’ll blog about this in the future. In the meantime I’m working on gradually modifying the meals I already make to incorporate more healthy fats and to substitute carbs. Although sometimes this can be tricky, I’m finding it easier than I expected. Let me tell you Pinterest is king. I used to save my recipes in some obscure folder on my computer hardly ever to be found again. Half the time I couldn’t remember what I named the file. Here I am killing it with my recipes thanks to the ease of accessing my recipes on my boards! 🙂

Anyway, I had already been thinking, as I walk through a natural grocery store, “if only manufacturers would start making easy keto-friendly snacks/foods.” Of course, this would not mean we should stop cooking for ourselves or not choose mainly whole foods. I’m speaking in terms of things that people go to for simplicity and time or even packaged things like keto pasta. I have no idea how this would be made on a mass scale but it is certainly something for companies to think about. Not that I care much for big corporations marketing food to the masses but if there was a health and environment-conscious company intent on marketing healthy food, even if it were slightly processed I could probably get on board. I mean, so many people don’t even know how to cook. Yes, we should teach them to cook and, yes, they should be held accountable but, in the meantime, it would be nice to have a quick accessible healthy and ketogenic option on the go to use on a limited basis.

 

Also, I’ve been thinking a keto-friendly or maybe a fully ketogenic restaurant would be a big hit. Perhaps it is already in the works and will be rolled out very soon. So far all I have seen are links to keto-friendly options at restaurants and suggestions for how to ask for a meal to make it keto-friendly. But what if there were restaurants that featured only ketogenic meals, fully developed to meet keto macros and instead of calories listed the fat, carb, and protein percentages would be listed instead? This idea is not so foreign. Consider the restaurants we have now are based on the bogus “Food Pyramid” promoted by the mainstream all these decades. As it is dining out has evolved quite a bit since back in the day when there was only fine dining or short order restaurants. Fast food hasn’t been around forever after all.

I get that ketogenic is still not fully vetted for a lifestyle for everyone but the more I research the more I see how good it is for most people. It is much better than the high carb standard American diet we now have and which is obviously the culprit for our obesity and health epidemic. In my opinion those who have maintained or found good health in these times of high carb, low fat, have done so not because of the diet but in spite of it. I find it a bit comical (if not sad) how some people out there are trying to debunk the ketogenic diet as bad or useless when we have evidence walking around everyday showing how the way things have been done for these past many decades simply is not working. Anyone with half a brain can see our carb-ridden diet is the main cause for our many health woes today. Why would we have such an increase in cancer if our diets weren’t part of the issue? Sure, there are other toxins to which we are exposed and, yes, our bodies are complex thus they can deal with even complex issues. I have always felt cancer is the result of a combination of things including lifestyle and toxins but based on what I’ve researched regarding the ketogenic diet it almost can singlehandedly help us to maintain better weight and prevent some of the worst health problems, even in the face of toxins. It just might be THE weapon against those toxins.

The bottom line is we should not discourage something that might help us to view carbs differently and even cut most of those carbs out of our diets simply because it flies in the face of accepted recommendations. No matter what, at the end of the day, we are seeing that even just a very low carb diet is better than what we have now. Here’s the thing, though, we NEED fat in our diet. Although people started to adopt low-carb awhile back, they’re still stuck on the low-fat part. In fact we now know that although our brain needs fuel, such as glucose, to function, it actually thrives on ketones and ketones do not come from carbohydrates or sugar. We can get ketones by making sure we are consuming adequate fat.

What’s more are the studies now showing we might be doing ourselves more damage by actively trying to reduce our cholesterol. While a high cholesterol in people who have a propensity for cardiac incidents might increase chances of a heart attack we should not be looking to reduce this protective substance but instead deal with the underlying issue of scarred arteries (which can come from a diet filled with carbohydrates and toxic substances such as sugar and chlorinated water). Our bodies produce cholesterol, which means it is essential for survival. In fact our brains are made of fat and they require cholesterol for proper function. It has been found that those with higher cholesterol levels have a decreased chance of neurological disorders such as Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. It has also been found that dementia is caused by brain-shrinkage, which is caused by a high glucose-forming diet. The so-called “lethal” cholesterol, LDL, is actually a lipoprotein, which is a necessary carrier of cholesterol to the brain. It is not unhealthy in itself but becomes an issue when it becomes oxidized. Oxidation occurs in the presence of excess free radicals and inflammation and it is well known that excess glucose and, especially, sugars, cause oxidation.

This does not mean glucose is not also essential for the body but the nice thing is our bodies also make glucose, as much as it needs. We do not need to supplement the body with glucose. On the other hand, it has been shown that when we give the body healthy fats it relieves some of the burden of creating its own cholesterol. So, eating egg yolks is incredibly healthy on this front as well as all the other reasons they’re so healthy. The issue now is figuring out how to change habits. The food you are able to eat on a ketogenic diet is extremely tasty so there is no problem with making it palatable. This is really good news for me because I have never been big on vegetables. I need to doctor them up good in order to find them tasty. As much as I’m into natural health I have to really work hard at it. Now that I know about the keto lifestyle I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

My struggle had been mainly sticking to this lifestyle because I’m so used to cooking and eating food a certain way. Like I said in my previous post, how do you eat pasta without the pasta? Or chicken without rice? Or burger without the bun? What about dessert? This is a biggie for lots of people. Personally I have never had much of a sweet tooth, although I do crave a little something every once in a while. I would really like to have a healthier option. Also, I am noticing some people are unable to adopt a keto-like lifestyle simply because of their need for sweets. This is big because people have really developed a sugar addiction, which, like any other addiction is extremely hard to break. We now know how bad smoking is so for the most part people do what they must to quit smoking and those of us who enjoy alcoholic beverages always have a nagging voice in our head telling us we should really limit this as only a treat. But when it comes to sugar I believe most people have been led to believe it is okay and even normal to have dessert every day if not with every meal.

I know people who will limit their salt intake yet eat sweets with careless abandon when salt is actually an essential nutrient and sugar is a poison. I blame doctors for this more than anyone. Although the tide is finally turning in the area of oncology I know of many cancer patients whose doctors are worried about them wasting away so the recommendation is to eat anything, including icecream, pizza, burgers, etc. but now it’s being shown these types of foods are feeding the cancer. I have taken my mother to many a doctor appointment and not once has a doctor asked how much sugar she eats or directed her to limit sugar to only special occasions. Based on my research this advice alone could not only reverse obesity but some of the worst diseases we see – many which have not yet been “discovered” or named, such as certain autoimmune diseases.

Sugar is a poison, friends. Plain and simple. If you want to be healthy and lose weight lose the sugar. I know many people don’t want to hear that (just like I don’t want to hear that beer has gluten and if I want to truly be healthy I should lose the beer) but it is a fact. We cannot hope to be healthy and, especially, lose weight if we have a habit of a sugary treat daily or, especially, sodas. Diet sodas are no better either. The good news is we can kick this unhealthy habit if we are conscientious of it on a daily basis. First we have to address the fact that we are eating too much sugar and realize it is an unhealthy habit.

With that said, some people have come up with some really good alternatives to sugar, even using natural sweeteners. Pinterest, anyone? I’m not saying we should start making keto-friendly desserts on a daily basis. The goal is to retrain our taste buds to not crave or desire sweets, at least not very often but I do believe incorporating some keto-friendly desserts into our menu every once and a while would be very helpful so we know we’re not dooming ourselves to never enjoying a sweet treat ever again.

I am happy to say I have found, and made, some yummy alternatives to the things I once expected would be a staple and which I thought I would never be able to replace. It’s difficult for me to make dinner without having two sides – generally they’ve always been a vegetable (or even two if I feel like adding a salad) and a starch, like rice, potatoes or pasta. I had made fried riced cauliflower before so I knew this was an option. The other day I decided to make both chicken and salmon for some friends who came over for dinner but I knew it would look strange if I just had a bunch of veggies. So I made riced cauliflower pilaf. It was a hit! Nobody was even any the wiser. They actually thought it was rice! Cauliflower is so versatile…and I don’t even care for cauliflower. Who would have thought I could incorporate it into almost every meal? In the past I have made cauliflower tater tots and cauliflower bread sticks.

I honestly believe all we need to do is start changing our habits and it will become a lifestyle. I’m not saying a straight ketogenic “diet” is the goal but I do believe our ultimate goal should be incorporating more healthy fats and removing carbs – particularly starchy carbs and grains – as much as possible. Over time it will become our lifestyle and we no longer have to view it as a diet.

Here are some ideas and things I have done to fully integrate this lifestyle into my diet:

Low carb pasta:         replace pasta with spaghetti squash

Keto pasta:                make pasta “noodles” out of mozzarella and egg (see pic). So good!

Rice:                            riced cauliflower as rice pilaf, fried rice, Spanish rice, etc.

Potatoes:                    cauliflower tater tots

Mac & Cheese:          Cabbage casserole with bacon, mozzarella and sour cream (this is seriously my keto version of mac & cheese…and I don’t even like cabbage!)

Pizza:                          Fathead pizza – I’ve made it several times, it’s become a staple and is crazy good!

Bread:                         Keto bread with almond/coconut flour and eggs (Note: there are several recipes on keto bread, check Pinterest!)

Cauliflower breadsticks

Fathead pizza crust (this is good and sooo easy)

Now I just need to figure out how to substitute French fries 🙂 . Although the cauliflower tater tots are a good option they just aren’t exactly potatoes. This is one of those areas where we just have to treat ourselves every once in a while.

On the dessert front I have made three things: mini keto cinnamon cheesecakes, pumpkin cookies, and chocolate keto icecream. The pumpkin cookies might be good if I add more sweetener next time but the mini keto cheesecakes are to die for and the ice cream is yummy!

If you want more ideas and to check out some of the recipes I’ve discussed, follow me on Pinterest! If you don’t have Pinterest you need to get it. It’s the best thing since thin sliced bread – errr….never mind. It’s the best thing since keto pizza!

Next time I plan on blogging about the connection between gallbladder issues and the ketogenic diet. Stay tuned!

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