Have you ever tried Keto recipes? What are they you say? The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb lifestyle. It works for many people and is worth trying out for a period of time. Many people start this kind of lifestyle and find that they have much more energy, stay full for longer in between meals, are able to balance their blood sugar and shed weight at a healthy rate.
Our metabolism is energized by glucose and fats. Your body burns carbs (think whole food carbs) and digests it as glucose. Fat is the backup, or the second source of energy your body burns when it runs low on carbs. We are not meant to run off of just carbohydrates. A balance of carbs, fat and protein is optimal for our primary source of fuel.
A fun illustration on how carbs, protein and fat metabolizes in your body:
- Carbs are like kindling for the fire. It burns quick, giving you lots of fast energy needed.
- Fats are the slow burning logs, giving you long lasting energy and the satisfied “full” feeling for hours.
- Proteins are used when needed.
When your diet is composed of good quality high fat foods (think avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc) your body will learn to use this for fuel. If your body knows how to burn fat for fuel, you’ll still be able to burn glucose when needed. Your blood sugar levels do not spike because your body is trained to burn fat as fuel. A good recommendation of a balanced diet is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. However, there are many different levels of maintaining a state of ketosis and staying under 50 grams of carbs a day
Fat is important for:
- Fuel for your muscles (especially heart)
- Healthy cholesterol levels
- Blood sugar regulation
- Healthy hormone balance
- Healthy liver and gallbladder function
Let’s bust the myth: Fat makes you fat. Wrong! You need fat to burn fat. Keto diet is simple. Cut out carbs, and burn fat for fuel instead. By doing this, your body enters a state called ketosis. This is done as the liver breaks down fat and uses the energy and produces ketones as a result. Ketones are a water soluble fat used for energy for tissues like muscles, brain and heart. One of the results of being on the keto diet is that some people feel greater mental clarity because our brain is literally getting sustained energy from the ketones. Your brain can’t function directly off of fat, so thats why ketones can be used instead of glucose as energy.
You are able to stay in ketosis, and be a fat burning machine if you eat very few carbs (carbs metabolize as sugar). Even if you don’t decide to try out the ketogenic diet, there are plenty of fun recipes to try!
The next time I make these I’m going to try a cheesy garlic bread version (just make crust into 2 longer pieces) and slice into breadsticks and dip in a marinara sauce!
Keto Grilled Cheese
- 1 head cauliflower (or frozen riced)
- 1/2 cup parmesan or mozzarella
- 2-3 slices cheese for melting (I love fontina grass-fed cheese!)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup almond flour (or 2 tbsp coconut flour)
Turn on oven to 450 degrees. There are a few methods to start the bread. Chop the cauliflower tops and add to a food processor to get the consistency of rice. Both options of cauliflower (pre-riced, frozen or chopped) will need to be steamed or sauteed in a pan. After cauliflower is cooked, remove the excess water by squeezing out the cauliflower in a cheese cloth (alternatively use a dish cloth) until it's completely wrung out. You want to make sure it is dry so that the bread easily forms.
Place cauliflower in a bowl with egg, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup almond flour or 2 tbsp coconut flour and spices and mix well. Place parchment paper down on a cookie sheet (I like to use when baking) and mold the bread into four slices. Bake until the bread gets crispy (18 minutes).
Turn oven up to broil or instead fry the grilled cheese on a cast iron pan. If you are going with the baking route, remove the crust from the parchment paper and place directly on cookie sheet. Now you can assemble the sandwiches by placing the cheese on top a slice of "bread" and add your favorite toppings such as: pesto, tomato, slice of turkey, bacon, avocado, salami, onions, olives......endless possibilities!
If you are using the oven, broil the sandwiches for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and the crust is, well, crusty! Otherwise, heat up a cast iron pan to medium, melt fat (butter, avocado oil, bacon fat, olive oil) and fry a few minutes, turning over once, until cheese is melted (don't put a lid on the pan, it will allow moisture into the cauliflower crust).
Note: with most of my recipes I don't follow them exactly! Every time is different (even with chocolate chip cookies!) So, these are all "suggestions." The reason I cook this way is because I've found it so much fun to experiment and try out various methods. And also, if there is an ingredient I'm missing, it doesn't get me completely stuck. For example, if you don't have any eggs, try making a substitute out of ground flax with a 1:1 ratio of water & flax. Or mix up the cheese blend by comping sharp white and pepperjack. Maybe combine fresh herbs like Basil and incorporate it in the sandwich with a slice of an heirloom tomato.
Adapted from The Iron You