MatchaMonday – Keto Bullet Matcha Milk / Latte!

This recipe came about as I was looking for an alternative to the Bulletproof Coffee and my version of the Bulletproof Chai Latte. I’m sensitive to caffeine and should avoid (high doses of) it, but I needed something which had a bit more of a kick to start the day, without the jitteriness from coffee.

Tea, caffeine & epilepsy

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Before I start, note that caffeine and epilepsy aren’t exactly the best of friends, and all teas do contain some amount of caffeine so epileptics do need to drink it with caution.

However, tea is my weakness and I’m from a part of India where we love our tea but I try and limit myself to 1-2 cups a day.

Depending on the serving, a serving of Matcha contains approximately 35mg caffeine. This normally isn’t enough to make you feel “wired” like coffee does. Bearing in mind that an average cup of filter coffee has 145mg of caffeine, and a cup of instant coffee can have up to 170mg per cup.

The caffeine in Matcha is also absorbed differently due to ‘catechins’ which are antioxidants and known to have many beneficial health properties. Caffeine molecules in Matcha bind to catechins and are absorbed slowly over time. Whereas caffeine molecules in coffee go straight to the bloodstream leading to a high followed by a crash within a few hours. With Matcha however, the caffeine is absorbed over the course of up to six hours.

This is a literature review of the beneficial effects of green tea – many of which are related to catechins, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallat content. Recently it has been suggested that Matcha has greater benefits than other green teas as indicated in this study. This is due to the concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) available from drinking matcha which is seen to be 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least 3 times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas.

So overall, I think the nutritional health benefits are worth it! 

Keto Bullet Matcha Milk / Latte

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Apart from Matcha, the key ingredient in this brain boosting Matcha Milk is MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) Oil.

  • MCT’s are found in coconut oil, but also in palm oil and high fat products such as cheese and butter.
  • MCT’s are considered to be good fuel for the brain because they are smaller and easily metabolised.
  • MCT oil is a manmade supplement produced from coconut oil, palm oil or safflower oil.
  • This study highlights that MCTs offer neuro-protective benefits for a range of diseases including epilepsy as well as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Ingredients

1 serving

You will need:

  • Matcha green tea powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Almond Milk: 1 cup
  • Vanilla Stevia drops: 1-2
  • MCT Oil: 1 tbsp
  • (Optional) Butter of choice: 1 tbsp
  • (Optional) For a bit of a twist, sometimes I like to add 1/2 a teaspoon of Cinnamon to my Matcha milk / latte.

Method:

  • In a bowl, whisk the matcha powder in some warm water.
  • (Warm the almond milk if you’d like a warm milk).
  • In a high-speed blender, add the almond milk, matcha, vanilla stevia and MCT Oil.
  • Blend for 30 seconds – 1 minute – A froth will have formed on top when you stop, and the matcha should be well combined.
  • Pour into your mug and serve hot or cold!

Macros:

1 serving (Excluding butter)

  • Energy: 161 kcal
  • Caffeine: 35-70mg
  • Protein: 1.9 g
  • Net Carbs: 1.69 g
  • Fat: 17.15 g
  • Vitamin A:938 IU
  • Vitamin D: 100 IU
  • Vitamin E: 10mg
  • Vitamin K: 58 ug
  • Calcium: 208mg

Low-carb Chocolate Covered Nuts

There are a few things that I find very frustrating on the keto lifestyle with epilepsy at present. These are namely:

  • Brain fog.
  • Tiredness and lethargy.
    (Note: for people who don’t have epilepsy reading this, this probably won’t affect you apart from the initial induction / ‘Keto flu’ period. For those of us with epilepsy, this is why it might be prolonged.).
  • Watching people eat bread, chips and desserts when I’m out!

But then again there are many things that I’m loving about the experience so far. A few of these are:

  • Discovering new things about my body every day.
  • A pretty impressive digestive system – the fibre in the keto diet must be working its magic! It only lets me down when I eat too much lactose.
  • Reading and learning about a whole new world of diet and nutrition.
  • Discovering new foods, recipes and getting creative in the kitchen.
  • The knowledge that I’m feeding my body nutritious food.
  • Building willpower and the comfort of knowing that I’m capable of creating delicious keto alternatives to bread, chips and desserts (this knowledge keeps me going when I’m out watching others eat carb-loaded foods! I have the good stuff waiting for me back at home in my kitchen).

So you see, there’s a lot to love about lifestyle, and the pros outweigh the costs!

Natures Fat Bombs – Nuts!

Nuts are my snacking staple. They’re high in fiber and numerous micro-nutrients, and there’s so much you can do with them. They’re great as an on-to-go snack, in desserts, and really are natures fat bombs.

Because I find it really hard to hit my fat macros, I find that some nuts in particular are ideal to munch on, namely Pecans and Brazil Nuts. But days when I feel like I’ve had too many calories as well, my go-tos tends to be almonds, pistachios, peanuts or hazelnuts.

Below is some useful nutrition information for various nuts:

NutNutrition

The only thing that tops nuts on my snack list is CHOCOLATE! And boy am I glad that Dark Chocolate is legit on the keto diet!

The benefits of dark chocolate and its miraculous properties deserves a whole post to itself so I’ll save that for another day, BUT the reason I’m writing this is because this post is all about chocolate covered nuts – my ultimate keto comfort snack.

My new chocolate discovery – Montezuma’s !!!

As I was working in a coffee shop the other day, I got peckish and unfortunately this popular coffee shop chain largely still does carb-loaded goods. Even the salads in this cafe were “pasta salads”. So I ventured to the supermarket to stock up on sneaky snacks to sustain me whilst I worked.

I was very excited to find this, hidden away in the chocolate aisle:

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And I was even more thrilled to discover the nutritional values.

Wait for it…

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The nutrition label says that 100g (i.e. the WHOLE BAR) has just 8g of carbs, and 17g of Fibre.

Now on Keto as we’re calculating net carbs (Carbs minus fibre), does this mean this bar of chocolate is actually negligible in terms of net carbs (-9)? Drop me an e-mail with your thoughts on this because I could be wrong, but until I have more clarity – I’M INDULGING!

As can be expected with 100% cocoa dark chocolate – it’s bitter AF. So much so, they’ve put a warning on the back of the package which has almost become a tagline for the brand – “For that dramatic cocoa hit. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!” This is great I think, because a little goes a long way when you’re looking for your cocoa high!

Which brings me to my next point – it’s not cheap. I got this bar for £2.50. However on Amazon you could buy in bulk and save some that way. And I look at it as an investment for all the keto chocolate goodies I could make.

On top of that, you are paying for a top-quality British product. I cannot describe in words how smooth the texture of the chocolate is. It really is incredible and something one needs to touch and taste for oneself.

Low Carb Chocolate Covered Nuts

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Natures Fat Bombs (Almonds and Pecans!!!) covered in Montezuma Dark Chocolate. P.S. Thank you mum for holding the nuts!

So I wanted to make my chocolate investment last for a while (and there’s no way I could eat a block of 100% dark chocolate so I would have to sweeten it up Keto style.)

Hence here is a very sweet and simple recipe for chocolate covered nuts! These are great on their own, or as a crunchy topping on something else.

Note: ANY Dark Chocolate will do, just make sure it’s at least 85% dark chocolate so as not to throw you out of ketosis.

Ingredients

13 servings (1 serving = 5 nuts)

You will need:

  • Nuts (I used 25 pecans and 40 almonds for this recipe, and the macros reflect the same).
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
  • 25g Dark Chocolate
  • 2-3 drops Vanilla Stevia

Method:

  • Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds (or until melted).
  • Stir in Vanilla Stevia and adjust sweetness to taste.
  • Add nuts and salt to the mixture and stir well ensuring all the nuts are covered with the chocolate.
  • Place some parchment paper on a plate, and place the chocolate covered nuts on the parchment paper.
  • Place the plate in the fridge to cool and allow time for the chocolate to re-harden around the nuts.
  • Once the chocolate has hardened, remove from the parchment, and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

NOTE: To boost the “Fatbomb” quotient per serving, you could add a tablespoon of MCT Oil to the chocolate mixture.

Macros:

One serving of 5 nuts (pecans & almonds):

  • Energy: 84.7 kcal
  • Protein: 1.8 g
  • Net Carbs: 0.3 g
  • Fat: 8 g

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 🤒). 

Spinach Salmon Miso Soup (6)

 

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