3 Top Tips: Surviving keto life as an adult with epilepsy

When I started this blog I thought I’d be able to update it regularly with posts about my ketogenic journey for epilepsy, recipes and resources. BOY WAS I WRONG!!! Blogging slipped down the priority list (but that’s ok because epilepsy management comes first).

This post is for adults with epilepsy embarking on the lifestyle with 3 top tips to bear in mind when embarking on this life changing journey & links to 3 recipes on my Instagram @riagoesketo @ananyariaroy.


The GOOD news is that the ketogenic lifestyle is still working for my overall wellbeing and still controlling my epilepsy – this month I’ll be one year seizure free!. It remains to be seen whether that’s the impact of the lifestyle or the medication.

The BAD news is that life has been a rollercoaster this last year and I’ve been terrible at blogging my ketogenic journey apart from microblogging on my Instagram accounts @riagoesketo (just keto for epilepsy posts) and @ananyariaroy (my personal account with a mix of posts including keto).

There honestly weren’t enough hours in a day to work (the load was the kind where you needed more than 24 hours in a day), eat, spend time with family, sleep, exercise, and I pretty much forgot about having much of a social life let along blogging.

My priority is staying seizure-free and keto is just one (major) part of a holistic lifestyle change. Stress and anxiety management is a constant battle and for me this last year post shoulder surgery along with numerous personal challenges on the relationship and work front has constantly pushed my stress limits – stress being my #1 trigger combined with #2 – lack of sleep. I’m pleased to report though that I’ve survived this last year unscathed although I’ve had a couple of auras and took my emergency pill on a few occasions. The lifestyle has taught me to be more aware of my body and I’m definitely more aware of my brain than EVER before! WIN!

So for those of you adults with epilepsy embarking on a new diet for your epilepsy, here are my 3 Top Tips:

  1. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process:It can be tempting to feel like you need to research and understand everything straight away, get your macros perfect right off the bat, and so on. But take your time to absorb and learn about the lifestyle in your own time (do your READING, don’t just rely on YouTube).

    It is unlikely you’ll learn everything about the lifestyle let alone test the impact of the lifestyle on YOUR body in a month – give yourself time to learn, play and adapt – enjoy the process.

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    Keto Lemon & Mint FroYo
  2. Listen to your body and the different types of dietary therapies used to treat epilepsy:Although I’ve been on the keto lifestyle for nearly 1.5 years, I have by no means been consistently in ketosis. I do have ‘cheat days’ but this doesn’t mean I load up on sugar, I still opt for the healthier low GI options during cheat days (which also tend to be during my period.)

    I’m a strong believer in sustainability and balance and ‘finding what works for you’ at the end of the day and found that for me it was a combination of mostly ketogenic combined with low GI on certain days seems to work.

    View the Epilepsy Foundation website for more on Dietary Therapies.

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    Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie
  3. Don’t have #FOMO! It’s more than just what you put in your mouth 

    (I personally think the ketogenic lifestyle  works best in tandem with other lifestyle improvements. Factors that could improve outcomes might be e.g. sleep, time with family and friends, work-life-balance, exercise and so on.I strongly recommend taking the time out to assess your seizure triggers, find out what lifestyle factors could minimise them, review and prioritise what’s important, and if necessary, adapt your lifestyle as a whole.

    When prioritising it will probably mean something is sacrificed in the quest for better health, and for us millennials there is always a major #FOMO – but the end result will always be worth it – seizure freedom!

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    FAMILY TIME! Keto Shakshuka for Fathers Day Brunch 🙂

Bonus tip! (And one that I personally struggle with)

It goes without saying that you should be making dietary lifestyle changes for epilepsy under your neurologists supervision and ideally with a ketogenic dietitian, but the reality is that there are probably many who are doing it without either. (I personally had to wait 8 months for an appointment).

Although I am technically under a ketogenic dietitian, follow-up / communication has not been great – largely on my part as it is taxing and a lot of work to submit food diaries, monitor your blood, do routine blood/urine tests etc. A lot of the hard work falls on the patient which is paper based. For an epileptic that can add up to a lot of brainpower and physical energy in addition to daily life and I for one find it quite stressful and draining. Give me an app any day please. (Rant over!)

Nevertheless it IS an absolute necessity if your goal is to manage your epilepsy (or for any medical condition) – please do it under supervision of a health professional as there ARE side effects to the lifestyle.

P.S I write this blog a few days before a milestone “Holidate”! It’s the first holiday I’ve had in a LONG time and the first time in a long time that I’ve gone somewhere without family of some kind as well. I’m completely throwing myself out of my comfort zone. The last time I felt this out of my comfort zone was 9 years ago!  Getting my priorities straight and giving myself a break!

I hope to post more frequently and prioritise this blog every fortnight! GOALS!

 

 

Keto Protein Cloud Loaf

I love the cloud bread recipes floating around (excuse the pun), but I find them to be a bit frustrating and a bit hit-and-miss sometimes.

Also, my oven isn’t huge so making a few light pieces of cloud bread isn’t convenient or satisfying, and I can’t wait around to make them in batches as the whipped egg whites are too sensitive so they really need to go in the oven as soon as they’re prepared.

I personally find making a good old loaf of bread to be the simplest thing. This recipe was inspired by the cloud bread recipe and a chiffon cake recipe using whey protein.

I’ve replaced the cream cheese with Greek Yogurt (it’s cheaper and we buy it in bulk), and the texture works PERFECTLY as a bread (it works both savoury or sweet depending on your preference).

FAQ’s

Does the bread taste like cake?

I don’t think it’s cakey as it has no (nut) flour. It’s almost like a super light Keto version of a loaf of brioche.

It’s so good that in my books it beats almond bread, coconut bread, and flax bread. I’m a sucker for light and fluffy bread!

How do you eat it?

Like bread!

Slice, smother in butter/ghee/garlic olive oil, pan fry, (I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried toasting it because it’s quite light and I have a feeling it might get stuck in the toaster), use it in a sandwich, and so on.

(This morning I toasted a slice in ghee and made an open sandwich with creamy scrambled eggs – because I’m addicted to scrambled eggs at the moment – with a side of bacon and greens).

Keto Protein Loaf (6)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 170g Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 50g Whey Protein Isolate (Unflavoured for savoury bread, *Vanilla flavoured for Sweet bread)
  • OPTION 1 Spicy Savoury Bread: Spices: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt of choice, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Dried Chilli Flakes (or other savoury spices of choice).
  • *OPTION 2 Sweet Bread: 2-3 tablespoons sweetener of choice if using unflavoured whey protein OR use a vanilla flavoured whey isolate protein powder.

METHOD

1. Preperation: Pre-heat the oven to 150C and grease a loaf tin.

2. Add the cream of tartar to the egg white and whisk until stiff peaks form.

3. To the egg yolks add the remaining ingredients (greek yogurt, whey protein, baking powder, salt and spices).

4. Mix the yolk mixture well.

5. Add the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture in parts:

  • Add 1/3 of the white and mix to loosen the batter.
  • Add 2/3 and FOLD very gently. You want it to be well combined but don’t want to lose any “fluffiness”.

6. Pour it into your greased loaf tin and bake at 150C for approximately 60minutes. (You may have to adjust the temperature and time depending on your oven.)

(NOTE: If you really want buns it might work but I haven’t tried!)

Macros

1 whole loaf (= approximately 10 servings):

  • Calories: 835.2 kcal
  • Protein: 85.6g
  • Net carbs: 17.6g
  • Fat: 45.6g

1 slice:

  • Calories: 83.5 kcal
  • Protein: 8.6g
  • Net carbs: 1.8g
  • Fat: 4.6g

 

 

Keto Mini Cinnamon Rolls & Chocolate Rolls (Gluten Free|Low Carb)

Keto & Epilepsy Update

I’ve been struggling to get my fats in again and I know my weight has changed since I started this way of eating, and I feel like I need to adjust my macros. But I’m not quite sure.

However I FINALLY GOT AN APPOINTMENT WITH A DIETITIAN ON THE NHS! Although the appointment is all the way in December, I’m over the moon and couldn’t be more excited because I thought it was never going to happen. I don’t think there are that many “ketogenic diet for adults with epilepsy” specialists around.

Anyway it has been over nine months since I found out about the the diet, and around six months of being on it. I can now say the following:

POSITIVES:

  • My seizures have reduced in severity. Since going keto I did have one grandmal however that was a day after changing my dose which was kind of expected.
  • Creative outlet: I enjoy cooking and experimenting with keto recipes, especially making more ‘mainstream’ food out of low-carb ingredients.
  • Be prepared: It’s hard out there and MOST foods have sugar and/or additives. So planning is crucial!
  • Learning: The Keto WOE isn’t the same for everyone. My dad is doing it for weightloss and his heart but he also doesn’t really care (yet) about inflammatory additives. Whereas I’m doing it for epilepsy and eczema and so additives are important to me.

NEGATIVES:

Please note that both of the negatives mentioned below are also side effects of Zonisamide (Zonegran), the anti-epileptic medication that I’m on. 

  • Weight loss. Chubby 16 year-old me on Epilim would have loved to be able to lose the weight so quickly, but 32 year-old me isn’t quite so sure about the drastic weight loss.
  • Fluctuating energy levels. There are moments where I have sufficient energy and moments where I’m exhausted. I can’t drink caffeine so rely on MCT oil for quick bursts of energy.

FatHead Pastry: The Keto Holy Grail!

My foodprep this Sunday was mini Keto pastries made with a slightly sweetened fathead pastry.

I made bitesized Mini Cinnamon Rolls (0.9g carbs) and Chocolate Rolls / Chocolate Danish Pastries (1.5g carbs) today!

KetoPastry-001

Whoever came up with the idea of the genius fathead dough. I. LOVE. YOU!!! Next time I visit my sister in Paris, I’m taking along a batch of these babies so I’m not tempted (again!)

Ingredients

FatHead Pastry:

  • 200g (1.5 cups) shredded mozzarella
  • 80g (0.75 cup) almond flour
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp Natvia
Cinnamon Filling:
  • 2 tbsp Natvia (or other low-carb sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Hot water
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • Vanilla

Chocolate Filling:

  • Cocoa or Cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Sugar-free maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • Hot water

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • Dark Chocolate (I used 2 squares of Lindt 85% Chocolate)

Method

Fathead Pastry

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 Celsius/360 Fahrenheit.
  2. Measure out mozzarella and cream cheese, and melt in a non-stick pot over a low flame or in a microwave. It will take approximately 1.5 minutes. NOTE: Stir the mixture half way through!
  3. Crack and stir in the egg into the mixture well.
  4. Then measure and add the almond flour, baking powder, and sweetener of choice, and mix well into a smooth doughball.
  5. Divide the dough into two batches / balls.

Cinnamon Rolls

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  1. Place one batch / ball on a parchment paper and place another parchment paper on top of it. Roll it out until it’s as thin as you can get it (but still workable) into a large rectangle.
  2. Prepare the Cinnamon Filling: boiled water, sweetener and cinnamon.
  3. Brush the Cinnamon Filling along the entire flat top of the pastry.
  4. Roll the pastry into a log along the length.
  5. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into rolls (approximately 10-12 rolls).
  6. Place on a non-stick dish and bake at 180C for 20 minutes (check at 15 minutes).
  7. While the rolls are baking, mix the frosting: cream cheese, yogurt and sweetener,
  8. Once the rolls have baked, drizzle or spread over your WARM CINNAMON ROLLS AND EAT!!!

Chocolate Rolls / Chocolate Danish

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  1. Place the second batch / ball on a parchment paper and place another parchment paper on top of it. Roll it out until it’s as thin as you can get it (but still workable) into a large rectangle.
  2. Prepare the Chocolate Fillling: Boiled water, Cacao Powder, Cinnamon (optional), Sugar-Free Maple Syrup or other sweetener of choice.
  3. Pour the chocolate filling on top of the pastry and spread over evenly. NOTE: Don’t go too close to the edges.
  4. Roll the pastry into a log along the length.
  5. With a sharp knife, cut the pasty into rolls, or slightly longer pastries.
  6. Place on a non-stick dish and bake at 180C for 20 minutes (check at 15 minutes).
  7. Whilst the Chocolate Pastries are baking, melt your required amount of Dark Chocolate to drizzle on top!
  8. Once the pastries have baked, drizzle or spread over your WARM CHOCOLATE PASTRIES AND EAT!!!

ketopastry9-min

Let’s just say I think I’ll his my fat macros today :-)! These are BY FAR MY FAVOURITE FAT BOMBS!

Macros

Mini Cinnamon Roll:

  • 70 Kcal
  • 3.5g Protein
  • 1.9g Carbs
  • 1g Fiber
  • 0.9g Net Carbs
  • 5.8g Fat
  • Calcium: 84.4 mg

Mini Chocolate Roll:

  • 75.7 Kcal
  • 3.7g Protein
  • 2.4g Carbs
  • 0.9g Fiber
  • 1.5g Net Carbs
  • 6.1g Fat
  • Calcium: 77.9 mg

Keto Croutons (Gluten Free|Dairy Free|Low Carb)

This was one of those spur of the moment things that I’m so pleased with, it’s DEFINITELY going to become a permanent part of my staples in my Keto pantry.

The reason these babies came about was because I was craving a Caesar salad. But you can’t have a Caesar salad without croutons right!!!

As I learnt, Keto Croutons couldn’t be simpler to make. If making microwave Keto Flax Bread was the easiest recipe in the world, this is just one step up.

They take less than 10 minutes to prepare, are quite moreish (I finished 3 portions of the 4 I made in one day). It also makes for a satisfying Keto snack-on-the-run. I’ve actually been munching on them with cheese (like flax crackers I suppose). They’re THAT good and guilt-free, and SUPER CRUNCHY 🙂 !

ketocroutons (2)_1200-min

RECIPE

This recipe make approximately 4 servings.

Utensils & Ingredients

  • 1 Microwavable Dish (I used a glass dish that was approximately 5×5 inch)
  • Butter (or oil) to grease
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 4 Tbsp Flax Meal (You could also probably make it from Almond Meal)
  • 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt of choice
  • OPTIONAL Spices / Seasonings of choice: E.g. Pepper, Chilli, Garlic, Onion, Cayenne, Paprika, Turmeric etc.

Method

  • Grease your dish with the butter or oil.
  • Crack and beat the egg in the dish.
  • Add the flax, baking powder, salt, and optional spices and seasonings of choice.
  • Stir the mixture well until everything is well incorporated.
  • Microwave for 2 minutes.

(Click here for step-by-step images of how to make microwave keto bread)

  • Remove the bread from the microwave and slice it into two slices, then cut into crouton sized cubes.

ketocroutons (6)_1200-min

  • Place the bread cubes on a plate and microwave in 1 minute bursts until hard. (Mine took 2 minutes in total).
  • Cool, sprinkle on your salad, or eat as it is with a dip or cheese!

Macros

Per serving:

  • 47.2 Kcal
  • 2.9 Protein
  • 2.7g Carbs
  • 2g Fiber
  • 0.7g Net Carbs
  • 2.9g Fat

ketocroutons (8)_1200-min

Death by Keto Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free|Low Carb)

I had a very shit end to last week. Anti-epileptic medication changes led to a seizure on Sunday. Epileptics know how the story goes, and now I’m just just waiting for my body (or brain) to adapt to the changes. (I might do a separate post on that later.)

Anyway, I fasted that day out of sheer exhaustion and because the medicine (Zonegran) causes me to lose my appetite. However, after a few days of resting up, I finally got my ass into gear again.

As a result I needed some major comfort food that was Keto friendly. THIS my friends is how I made damn sure that the rest of the week stayed AMAZING!

KETO CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! With EXTRA chocolate!

I’ve made a few keto chocolate cakes in the past, but I think this one hits the spot. Especially if you’ve been keto for a while and your sweet tooth isn’t what it used to be.

This is the most indulgent, because I’ve used almost twice the amount of dark chocolate of other similar recipes. Initially I set out to make a “flourless” cake, but I decided to add almond flour in the end, so although it isn’t exactly flourless. It’s still very much gluten-free.

Now, before I get the Keto police on me for this post – yes IF you eat the whole cake you’ll probably be thrown out of ketosis. BUT if you use good quality DARK chocolate (Over 75%), then a slice a day won’t hurt if you’re fat adapted and watching your macros.

And dark chocolate is high in potassium, something that a lot of us on this lifestyle struggle with! So why not treat yourself once in a while!

ketochoccake13_500

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature*
  • 300g dark chocolate (75% and above. I used 3x100g bars of 90% Lindt Dark Chocolate for convenience but recommend 100% cocoa to reduce sugar and carbs.)
  • 5 medium eggs (or 4 large): yolks separated from whites
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (or other flour of choice OR cocoa)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Sweetener: 3 tablespoons of a powdered sweetener of choice (I used Natvia which is a blend of Erythritol and Stevia)
  • Optional: 2-3 drops of Liquid sweetener for additional sweetness if required
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract or essence
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon coffee

    NOTES:
    *Apologies my weighing scale wasn’t behaving so I will update butter measurements in grams the next time I make this!

Method

  • Pre-heat & prep:
    – Pre-heat your oven to 175C and prepare your cake tin of choice (grease and sprinkle some cocoa powder, or line the tin with a grease-proof baking sheet. I used a round 9 inch tin).
    – Measure out 300g of DARK chocolate**
    ketochoccake_480 (2)
    – Measure out 10 tablespoons of butter
    ketochoccake_480 (1)
    – Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites into two bowls, ensuring the whites are in a large clean cold bowl for whipping.
    ketochoccake_480 (6)
  • Melt the chocolate & Butter until silky smooth:

    – Option 1: Double Boil the chopped up chocolate and butter on the stove. (Here’s a how-to melt chocolate using a double boiler).
    – Option 2: Melt the chopped up chocolate and butter in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Stirring the mixture in between until the chocolate has completely melted.
    Useful Tip: Make sure your utensils are completely dry when melting chocolate to prevent the chocolate from seizing up.
  • Beat the egg whites:
    ketochoccake_480 (7)

    In a cold clean bowl, beat the separated egg whites on a medium speed until they start to get foamy, then add the cream of tartar and increase the speed until they start to form stiff peaks.
  • Add sweetener:
    Add your sweetener of choice to taste and keep beating the egg whites until the stiff peaks are able to stand by themselves. They shouldn’t move even if the bowl is turned upside down.
  • Add egg yolks, 1/3 cup almond flour, vanilla essence and salt to chocolate:


    Once the chocolate has cooled down, whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate along with the salt. Mix in the almond flour (or other flour or additional cocoa well).
    Optional: Add 1/2 tsp espresso powder into the mixture.

  • Fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate:
    ketochoccake_480 (11)
    – Whisk 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
    – Carefully fold the remaining 3/4 whipped egg whites into the chocolate with a spatula.
    Useful Tip: A silicone spatula is easiest for folding egg whites.
  • Taste and add more sweetener if required:
    I added additional stevia drops into mine.
  • Bake:

    ketochoccake_480 (12)
    Keto Chocolate Cake batter pre-baking

    Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. It will only rise very slightly, and might form a thin crust.

  • EAT!
    ketochoccake_480 (14)

    This cake is great warm or cold but I it gets quite hard once it has been in the fridge. Personally, my favourite way to eat it is a slice straight out of the oven, or after ten seconds in the microwave with some berries and cream. 

Macros

(Based on Lindt 90% Dark Chocolate)

1 cake = 12 servings

1 serving:

  • Energy 280.3 kcal
  • Protein: 5.5g
  • Net Carbs: 6.3g**
  • Fat: 26.8g

**If you would like to reduce the carb count even further, you could:

  1. Reduce the amount of chocolate used to 200g, but I wouldn’t go lower than that as it would seriously compromise the chocolateyness and it taste too ‘eggy’.
  2. Use a chocolate with a lower carb count e.g. 100% cocoa (I recommend Montezuma’s Black 100% Cocoa which I used for these chocolate covered nuts),  and increasing the amount of sweetener used.

 

‘Cheese’ & Onion Bittergourd and Kale Crisps (Gluten-Free|Vegan|Low-Carb)

I love kale but bittergourd / bittermelon / bittersquash / Balsam-pear / Karela / Goya – call it what you will, my reaction to it would have been the same until very recently. EURGH!!! It’s just so erm, intensely bitter? HOW could anyone with normal tastebuds enjoy it?

This is a recipe to start initiating yourself into the world of bittergourd! It’s actually yummy and moreish.

kaleandbittergourdfries (3)

I don’t know how else to start this post but to say that until I started preparing bittergourd this way, it has been nearly (but not quite at) the top of my hate list of vegetables (or is it a fruit?) . Either way it’s something that until very recently my tastebuds detested.

Being Bengali this is shameful as it’s a staple vegetable in many dishes including my boyfriends beloved “Shukto” or Bengali style mixed vegetable. Bengali’s love exciting the tastebuds, and this mighty vegetable definitely does. I unfortunately cannot make a “Shukto” yet (but I shall soon!).

Amongst other nutritious elements, bittergourd is a high potassium vegetable, which is something that on the keto diet, I’ve been struggling with and have been searching for ways to incorporate it into my every day diet. If it wasn’t already obvious enough, I’m a bittergourd hater, but this simple recipe my friends, I simply cannot get enough of!

Although it’s commonly seen in Asian households, it’s highly underrated in the western world but it’s increasingly available in supermarkets (and readily available in the Asian / Indian markets). 

Bittergourd: Reasons why I can’t get enough of it now

  1. I’m older and wiser! I know that it’s good for me. Like kale, bittergourd is a nutritious powerhouse
  2. The green colour! And how it changes into a brighter green when you season raw bittergourd with salt. It’s magic :-).
  3. It looks weird and dangerous, like a massive green club.
  4. It can be delicious and moorish, when done right (like this recipe)!
  5. These crisps keep well for a few days in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

I’m not listing any quantities for the dressing below because I believe it’s entirely up to your tastebuds and personal preferences as to how flavoursome you’d like your crisps to be! Quantities for the vegetables are also up to you, the 1-2 cups are just a guideline.

  • 1-2 cups sliced bittergourd: Washed, dried and sliced thin.
  • 1-2 cups Kale: Washed, dried and torn into larger than bite-sized pieces (they will shrink when baked).
  • Olive oil (or any other oil of choice). I personally like to use a garlic olive oil.
  • Nutritional Yeast (This is where the ‘cheese-ey’ flavour comes from. There isn’t any actual cheese in this recipe.)
  • Onion Powder.
  • Himalayan Salt / Sea Salt.
  • Cayenne Pepper.
  • Turmeric: Optional

Method

Bittergourd chips:

kaleandbittergourdfries (1)

  1. Heat the oil in a suitable pan. You will you need enough oil to fry the bittergourd until they’re crispy.
  2. Slice the bittergourd into thin round slices and wash thoroughly.
  3. Sprinkle salt onto the bittergourd and  massage into it well. Leave for 10 minutes.
  4. Shallow fry the bittergourd in the oil until they’re darker and crispy but watch closely to make sure they don’t burn. The seeds should be crispy. (You could also try baking them, but we haven’t attempted this before).
  5. Once fried, dress the bittergourd with nutritional yeast, onion powder, himalayan salt and cayenne pepper according to your macros and taste.Tip: The bittergourd crisps keeps well in the fridge for a few days so you can make a large batch of this and snack on it (if it lasts)! It’s good cold, room temperature, or can be reheated in the oven or dry-toasted in a pan on the stove top.

Kale chips:

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  1. Wash and dry the kale well.
  2. Pre-heat an oven to 150-160C (it depends on your oven but I find that a lower temperature works better).
  3. Massage the kale with olive oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper according to your macros and taste. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Bake your kale chips in the oven for about 12-15 mins, and then give them a toss, then bake them again for another 10-12 mins (or until crispy but not burnt).

I don’t think kale crisps keep as well as bittergourd crisps, so eat the same day if possible.

Eat separately or mix BOTH the bittergourd and kale crisps up for the best of both worlds and enjoy getting your greens and nutrition in!

 

Tahini Buns (Gluten-Free|Vegan|Low-Carb)

This is a beautiful recipe for Gluten Free Vegan Keto Bagels by The Herbivore Post, adapted to make buns and with added spices.

I cannot tell you how amazing these little buns are! In fact, the day I tested them out, an aunt and uncle popped by unannounced, and they were astounded at the ingredients, and at how it smelled and looked like actual bread! They’re not Keto but they tried it and quite liked it as well – Score!

The original recipe for bagels can be found on The Herbivore Post website, however I tweaked it to make buns and added paprika, cayenne pepper and Himalayan salt to the mixture as well. And a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds on top.

This is going to become a staple I feel!

Ingredients

For the Tahini

  • 3/4-1 cup sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1-3 tbsp olive oil (or any neutral oil)

For the buns

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp flax meal 
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk powder
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Spices to taste: I used Paprika and Cayenne Pepper (approximately 1tsp each)
  • Optional: Seeds e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia.

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 1 cup water

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C (375F) and prepare a baking tray with greaseproof paper. I added some extra coconut butter to the paper.

2. Measure out 3/4-1 cup Sesame Seeds for your Tahini (ignore the measurement in the picture!!!). This will give you more than the required 1/2 cup of Tahini required for the recipe, and you can have some extra to create delicious keto salad dressings!

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3. Dry toast the sesame seeds in a pan to release the oils. Keep stirring as they burn easily, once they get a bit of colour and you get a toasty smell, take them off the heat and cool.

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4. Blend the cooled sesame seeds in a grinder or food processor. Once it gets towards the end, add the oil (1-3 tbsp) to get the smooth consistency if required.

5. Take 1/2 cup of the Tahini and add 1 cup of water: Mix well. (If there’s oil in Tahini it might separate and that’s fine).

6. Take a large bowl and add the dry ingredients: Flax, almond meal, psyllium husk powder, baking powder, and salt.

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7. Mix the wet ingredients (Tahini and water mixture) to the dry ingredients in step 6.

8. Add any spices if you like. As mentioned I added paprika and cayenne pepper. And mix well.

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9. The dough will quickly come together and you will get a dough ball that looks like this:

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10. Cut the dought into 4 pieces.

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11. Roll the dough between your hands into bun shaped balls and decorate the top if you like with seeds of choice. I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds. ketotahinibuns (15)

12.  Bake for 45 minutes at 190C (375F) and wash up while you wait! You will get these at the end!ketotahinibuns (16)

13. This is what the insides look like.

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14. And this is how I ate mine!!!

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Macros

(The macros I calculated per serving are slightly different to that in herbivorepost but they’re great)!

  • Energy: 254.7 kcal
  • Net Carbs: 3.2g
  • Fat: 23.7g
  • Protein: 5.4g
  • Magnesium: 96mg
  • Zinc: 2.1mg
  • Calcium: 123mg

Crumbly Coconut Granola (Low Carb | Keto | Gluten Free)

Mornings are not an epileptic’s friend!

It’s when many of us are vulnerable to seizures. Mine normally occur when I’m incredibly tired and sleepy, so first thing in the morning is primetime for the seizure gremlins to attack.

It’s therefore vital that my mornings are peaceful and stress-free. Most people don’t like being disturbed in the AM, but I should probably come with a DND warning sign before 8 am and a matcha latte.

I’ve really missed grabbing a quick cereal, yogurt and fruit-to-go

It does seem like Keto breakfasts are ‘mostly’ soft and/or warm and generally take a lot of time and effort to prepare. There seems to be a lot of ‘cooking’ involved to get those macros in. Precious time which most people don’t have.

This Low-Carb Crumbly Coconut Granola recipe came about on my quest for a cold, crunchy ‘Keto Cereal’! I just couldn’t deal with the cravings anymore, and there was nothing in the shops that catered to my needs.

Granola in the shops tend to have sugar or honey, or gluten. This is a homemade solution to my dilemma, bearing in mind that I also needed a high fat intake in addition to low-carb – hence the coconut oil.

Granted, it kind of looks like sand, but it TASTES like a Keto breakfast from heaven! Especially if you’ve been eating bacon and eggs everyday!

A great meal-prep recipe for the working week

It might take some time the first time round, but once you get the hang of making granola, and if you have the ingredients lying around, it shouldn’t take too long the next few times.

The best thing about making any type of granola is you could make a large batch and keep it in an air-tight container for a few weeks (if it lasts that long! I’d give it a few days).

Other benefits of this Granola

  • The texture of this granola also means that it’s great as a crumbly topping on other desserts (I had it on top of my panna cotta yesterday!).
  • An average portion (5 tbsp) has just 3.1g net carbs and 27.5g fat. 
  • An average serving also has 114.3 mg Magnesium and 299.7 mg Potassium  – two minerals that Keto-ers often find challenging incorporating into our lifestyle.

So without further ado, here we go:

Ingredients

Makes 45 tablespoons (average serving = 5 tablespoon)

You will need:

  • Flax Meal: 1 cup
  • Coconut Flour: 0.5 cup
  • Almond Flour: 0.5 cup
  • Coconut Oil: 0.5 cup
  • Vanilla stevia liquid: 3-5 drops (OR other sweetener of choice and vanilla essence or vanilla bean powder).
  • Pumpkin seeds: 0.25 cup
  • Sunflower seeds: 0.25 cup
  • Dried coconut flakes/chips: 0.25 cup
  • Walnuts: 8
  • Cinnamon powder: 0.5 tsp (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper for your granola.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flax meal, coconut flour and almond flour.

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3. Measure out 0.5 cup of Coconut oil.

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4. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or over a low heat.

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5. Add the melted coconut oil into the flax-coconut-almond mixture.

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6. Add Vanilla stevia drops to taste (approximately 3-5 drops). Alternatively, add vanilla essence or powder and sweetener or choice.

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7. Stir the mixture well until it starts the come to together – it should start to look like slightly damp sand.

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8. Measure out nuts and seeds of choice. I used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts and dried coconut.

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9 (optional). Add cinnamon.

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10. Mix the nuts, seeds and cinnamon into the granola mixture well.

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11. Grab the baking tray you prepared in the beginning. Add a tiny bit of coconut oil to it (you can never be too careful!) and pour the granola mixture onto the parchment paper, spreading it out and flattening it down.

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12. Bake in the oven at 160C (320F) for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture has toasted and is golden-brown in colour. Take it out of the oven every 5-10 minutes to give it a good stir. (Note: You could increase the temperature up to 176C / 350F but keep a close eye on the granola mixture as it is finer than usual, so I like to keep the temperature lower and just increase it at the end for a final toast!).

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13. Remove from the oven, cool and store in an air-tight container!

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Granola. Yogurt. Berries – Enough said!

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Macros:

1 serving = 1 tablespoon

  • Energy: 61.03 kcal
  • Protein: 1.34 g
  • Total Carbs: 2.1g
  • Fiber: 1.48g
  • Net Carbs: 0.62 g
  • Fat: 5.5 g
  • Magnesium: 22.86mg
  • Potassium: 59.94mg
  • Selenium: 1.81ug
  • Zinc: 0.32mg

An average portion = 5 tablespoon

  • Energy: 305.15 kcal
  • Protein: 6.7g
  • Total Carbs: 10.5g
  • Fiber: 7.4g
  • Net Carbs: 3.1 g
  • Fat: 27.5 g
  • Magnesium: 114.3 mg
  • Potassium: 299.7mg
  • Selenium: 9.05ug

Zinc: 1.6mg

Berry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

The temperature has been steadily creeping up in London recently, and today it reached a sunny ☀ 29°C! I find it incredibly difficult to eat enough and hit my macros when it’s warm outside. I know my tactic ‘should’ be to eat higher fat/calorie food. However, this recipe isn’t that. It’s my summer comfort food – FROZEN 🍓 YOGURT (FroYo) – which is keto friendly if berries are on your list.

Berries on Keto

As a fruit lover (I went through a raw vegan phase once upon a time), the hardest thing for me to let go on this diet has been fruit. If this was a zero fruit lifestyle I don’t think I could have done it, so the fact that berries are allowed are a saving grace. I’m of the mentality – Measure it. If it fits in your macros, it’s OK! 👌 If I could, I think I could happily survive on berries.

Just for your information, according to Cronometer (which is the app I use to measure and monitor my nutrition), summer berries have the following Net Carbs:

  • 1 cup strawberry halves: 8.7g
  • 1 medium strawberry: 0.7g
  • 1 cup blueberries: 17.8g
  • 1 blueberry: 0.2g
  • 1 cup blackberry: 6.2g
  • 1 blackberry: 0.2g
  • 1 cup raspberries: 6.7g
  • 1 raspberry: 0.1g

As it’s summer and berries are very much in season in the UK, I intend on incorporating them in my diet until they’re not! (and then freezing enough to last me the winter 😏).

Meal prepping desserts

As a dessert addict, I think meal prepping applies as much to desserts as it does to breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Especially for someone with a sweet tooth like mine as you really need to watch your macros. The carbs can creep up on you on anything sweet. Meal prepping is an opportunity to control your portions.

I think this good weather called for some frozen yogurt prepping in a massive batch, so I made a large LOG of frozen berry cheesecake yogurt.

This made approximately 10 portions which I then cut up and froze and can de-frost and blend with some additional yogurt or nut milk as and when I desire!

Besides being a fabulous dessert or snack, I think this makes a great base for a breakfast. You could turn it into a strawberry cheesecake smoothie, or even a quick hearty breakkie bowl with a homemade keto ‘cereal’ made from nuts and seeds.

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Hiding my fat (in my food)

As I’m always seeking ways to “hide” fat in my food without it overpowering the flavour of the food, this recipe has some avocado hidden in it which gives it some creaminess, but nothing else. Love it or hate it, you can’t taste or see it at all.

I wouldn’t say the cream cheese is “hidden” fat because it’s supposed to be a cheesecake FroYo after all, so you should get a hint of cream cheese, but in terms of fat content – you do get a significant amount of it from the cheese. If the amount of fat isn’t enough for you going by the macros below, I would just increase the amount of cream cheese rather than anything else.

Increasing the amount of avocado might make it overpowering, and increasing the amount of yogurt might affect the amount of carbs. But play around and use your judgement!

I blended it with some almond milk and sprinkled hemp seeds on top one day which boosted the protein and fat without affecting carbs *win win*!

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Ingredients

1 log (10 servings)

You will need:

  • 1 freezer friendly loaf tin
  • Fresh or frozen strawberries: 2 cups
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries: 0.5 cup
  • Greek Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Cream Cheese: 45g
  • Avocado (ripe): 1 large / approximately 120g
  • Vanilla Stevia (or other sweetener): 2-3 drops (adjust as required).

Method:

  • Blend strawberries and greek yogurt in a food processor until well combined. (Note: If you intend on eating some of it immediately, use frozen strawberries).
  • Add cream cheese, avocado, and vanilla stevia and continue processing for a few minutes until the FroYo mixture is a consistency you would like.
  • Taste and adjust at this point as required.
  • Prepare a loaf tin by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Add blueberries to the bottom of the loaf tin.
  • Pour the FroYo mixture into the loaf tin and freeze for 2-3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes if possible.
  • Once the block of FroYo is solid, cut it into servings and re-freeze for future use!
  • To defrost and devour just let it stand out for a bit, or to turn it into more of a soft FroYo, add a bit of yogurt or nut milk and blend.

Macros per serving

(1 log = 10 servings)

  • Energy: 74.8 kcal
  • Protein: 1.7g
  • Net Carbs: 4.9g
  • Fat: 5.7g
  • VitaminA : 160.8 IU
  • VitaminC: 19.9 mg

Salmon Spinach Miso Soup

This recipe is ideal for anyone dealing with Keto Flu, short on time, or just seeking your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from food sources (check the macros below)!

It’s well known that keto-ers can face issues with potassium. It’s one mineral that I am currently struggling with as I write this. Also, as it’s nearly that time of the month, I’m facing a tripply whammy of epilepsy, keto mood swings, and pms.

So for the women out there, this is a good one! I figured I better take precautions to ensure that I’m getting enough potassium from dietary sources as on top of everything else, low potassium levels can lead to menstrual cramps, and I get baaaad cramps due to PCOS. My epilepsy is also further triggered by hormones, and I could do without an episode at this point in time.

Anyway this super simple Salmon Spinach Miso Soup takes less than 10 minutes to prepare (perfect for when you’re not feeling well 🤒). 

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Ingredients

You will need:

  • 2 cups of chicken bone broth (homemade preferably)
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 100g salmon
  • 80g egg tofu or soya tofu
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Method:

  • Heat the bone broth over medium heat with miso paste and cayenne pepper until well combined.
  • Once the broth starts boiling, lower the heat and add the spinach first to wilt it down.
  • After 1-2 minutes add the salmon and tofu. Cook in the boiling broth for a further 2-3 minutes and then serve. (Both will carry on cooking in the hot broth once you take it off.)
  • Taste and add extra salt to taste of needed.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve piping hot!

Macros

Full Recipe / 2 servings:

  • Energy: 420 kcal
  • Protein: 40.5g
  • Net Carbs: 4.5g
  • Fat: 25.2g
  • VitaminA : 6053 IU
  • VitaminD : 977.3 IU
  • Potassium : 1218 mg
  • Magnesium : 110.5mg