“Keto” is short for “ketogenic”. The ketogenic diet flips conventional nutritional wisdom on its head and advocates reducing carbohydrate intake to less than 20g carbs per day and promotes consumption of higher than normal levels of GOOD fats and moderate amounts of protein! When you reduce carbs so drastically, your body is forced to burn fat for fuel, instead of the conventional glucose or carbohydrate metabolic pathway. The by-products of burning fats for energy are called “ketones”. Fun fact: the ketogenic diet was first developed in the 1920’s for people living with epilepsy. The keto diet is similar to low-carb diets like Atkins which became popular in the 1980’s. Low-carb diets typically allow for consumption of more than 20g carbs per day, even up to 100g carbs. I’ve been doing the keto diet for over a year now and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve compiled answers to the questions I’m most frequently asked. Continue reading 15 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE KETO DIET ANSWERED
It has most likely happened to us at some point. During conversation with (usually) an older person you’re exchanging information, answering and asking questions, you explain that you’re so and so’s daughter and that you do X for a living. Two minutes later, you’re hit with the question: So who are your parents? And what do you do? You’re taken aback, you pause, then you respond. This will likely happen another two times or so during the course of the interaction. You catch the eye of someone else across the room. They put their index finger to their head and make air circles and shrug. You nod with understanding, and begin to extricate yourself from the conversation with wan apologies and excuses of needing to speak to someone else. You walk away shaking your head with pity and maybe a little fear, fear that someday you’ll succumb to the inevitable fate of failing memory as you age. Words like senile and Alzheimer’s and dementia swirl around in your mind and you pray that you escape such a fate.
I love food. I had already started to change how I ate but weight loss was slow. I kept hearing about this “Intermittent Fasting” but didn’t pay it much mind. After all, I had given up rice, sugar, flour and all their relatives and now I was expected to go without food on top of all that? Hmmm…. Let me start at the beginning.Continue reading My Jamaican Keto Journey AND Intermittent Fasting: A Weight Loss Success Story!
Carbohydrates are a critical part of how we eat in Jamaica. Talk of giving them up leads to the inevitable: So what will I eat then? What are Jamaican keto foods and do they even exist?
As a Jamaican living right here in Jamaica, I’m very happy to say that you can absolutely eat keto in Jamaica! What follows are some approaches and options that have been working for me on my own keto or low-carb journey.
Since my last blog post where I outed myself formally as being on a Weight-Loss Journey, so many people have messaged me privately to share their own struggles with eating to lose weight. What we ALL have in common is a basic knowledge of what we need to be eating, but a struggle to do the right thing.
“I lack willpower” is the common refrain.
Willpower. What does that word conjure up for you? For me I have visions of stress, deprivation, sacrifice and a noble hero emerging triumphant out of the burning rubble. Sounds like a hell of a lot of drama and definitely not how I want to live my life daily. I had to find a more sustainable, enjoyable way to eat and win.
So during August of 2017 we were at the beach. My photog daughter snapped a pic of me. I was in my happy place. After all, Frenchman’s Cove in Portland, Jamaica and a bottle of rum are the closest one can get to heaven, right? I was HORRIFIED when I saw the pic. It wasn’t even a full-body pic. It was just my face.
So I’ve been trying to change my eating habits. Yes…I still eat meat, just less of it and no processed meats. That means I’ve put down, for now at least, Beloved Bacon and Awesome Chorizo sausage. I’m in discovery mode where beans (all of them) are concerned, and different, delicious ways to prepare them. I’ve made lentils and brown rice with portobello mushrooms and green peppers cooked with fresh herbs in coconut milk. I’ve made a wicked white bean mash which comes together so nicely with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, shallots, lemon juice and fresh parsley. I’ve made a sugar free vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, virgin olive oil, dried Italian herb mix and fresh garlic with a pinch of salt. I don’t like my salads naked. I hate them naked. And I’m on the look out for different and interesting and of course delicious ways to cook, prepare and eat the rainbow.
So when I saw an article in one of the dailies speaking about the benefits of raw foods, I took note. I also took a picture of the section where it listed some places here on the Rock where one could explore this not-quite-yet-mainstream food niche.
|Zoom in for a list of Raw Food Eateries in Jamaica|
Imagine my glee when I googled a couple of these restaurants and found that they actually had an online presence that was current! Business places in Jamaica need to understand that without a current, valid on line presence they are possibly missing out on so many opportunities. It is a pleasure when a customer or potential customer can click and get location, opening hours, product listings, menus, prices and consumer feedback.
Side note: Last November I had to visit York, England for school. I invested quite a few hours researching on line where to to eat and drink in York (’cause my middle name is PLAN and because food is as important as school, right?) and complied a list complete with directions from my B&B, walking time, and the dish that I would eat at each location. I also knew what it would cost me. And so I, travelling as a single woman, first time visitor to York had a blast pub crawling, eating some awesomely delish food and sampling the local ales.
And so I looked up a couple of the places mentioned in the article and was intrigued by what I read about “Mi Hungry“. Their website described each dish and clearly stated cost. I mentioned it to a colleague of mine who is also trying to clean up her eating habits and she confirmed that she had eaten their food and recommended a couple of things to me. See why it’s good to chat and share and live out loud?
So today, I invited Miss World to accompany me there to have lunch after we shopped for groceries. She has quite an evolved palette and has a natural (inherited!) knack for blending and combining flavours so I knew she would be game and a worthy companion on this little adventure into the world of Raw Food.
So we reach on to Mi Hungry. It occupies a small corner in The Market Place, to the rear of the complex, but there are a few tables for whose who want to eat there.
|Inside Mi Hungry|
I knew exactly what we were going to try: the burger and the pizza. I know there are vegan purists who resent comparisons of their food to more traditional fare. People get upset at “tofu roast” and ” meatless curried chicken” and “turkey bacon”. Calm down. More of us eat pizza and burger than not, and if your food is that good and that good for you, then you should want to share and what better way to share than to relate it to the familiar. So I ordered our selections with confidence: one half Pleaza and one Nyam burger to be shared between us. Here’s how Mi Hungry describes them:
Pleaza (Pizza): A savory crust of seeds and grains crisply dehydrated and covered with our not-cheese made from sunflower seeds, and topped with chopped onions, pineapple, tomatoes, sweet pepper, lettuce, olives, and hot pepper if you want.
Nyam Burger: Not-cheese burger, within 2 tasty buns made from walnuts, filled with our signature house tomato sauce, onion rings, tomato, lettuce, sweet pepper.
Here’s how the pizza looked:
Fresh toppings, thin crispy crust, a decent enough portion for 2 of us. It was beautiful, almost a work of art and you got the sense that someone took the time to layer and construct this by hand. The veggies were chopped up small, very neat…not at all junky and coarse. I’m happy to report that the taste was equally good. There was enough salt, a cheesy taste and enough pepper that supported an almost perfect blending of the flavours of these fresh toppings. The onion did not overpower anything, Praise Jah. The pineapple hovered underneath it all lending a delicate sweetness and her distinctive flavour that blended oh so well with the fresh tomato and sweet peppers. It was delicious.
Miss World declared the Pleaza her favourite. And while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I will most certainly get the Nyam Burger again! The “buns” were chewy and savoury and the inclusions fresh, delicious, cheesy and neatly bound together with their tomato sauce. Throughout both the Pleaza and and Nyam Burger, there was a very faint hint of fresh lime juice. Yum! Note: nothing is cooked and no flour or sugar are added.
The owner is the chef, a quiet, slender Rasta man, who was reluctant to chat, but very pleasant and gracious when I insisted on complimenting him in person. He makes the magic happen behind this mesh enclosed space.
So on a Sunday, I really throw down, in my kitchen. I plan my menu days in advance. Then round about noon I turn the radio dial to Fame 95 (retro…what else?!), fill a glass with ice cubes, add some rum and COOK! On any given Sunday I pull from the following items: braised ox-tails, baked chicken, curried shrimp, pot roasts of beef or pork, rice and peas, sitr fried veg, mac and cheese, fried rice, chow mein, baked plantains, garden salad…
But I’ve decided to go low-carb for a while, to reset my body and mind, so…sigh…gotta find a way to keep the fun in Sundays. So instead of rum, we do water. Yup. Water and a lot of ice. And I still blast my retro tunes. And here’s what today’s fare looked like:
I call it “Smothered Chicken with Steamed Veggies”.
The steamed veggies are simply broccoli and cauliflower steamed with garlic, parsley and basil and finished with butter (salted of course). Yum!
Here’s the main event:
4 chicken breasts
2 stalks celery
1 cup coarsely cut button mushrooms
1 medium tomato
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sweet pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Flatten the chicken breasts. Wash with lime juice and season with salt, pepper, jerk-flavoured hot sauce, soya sauce and let marinate overnight.
Heat 2 tbsp veg oil in a non-stick frying pan and quickly sear the chicken on both sides. It should be just brown and the entire browning process should not take more than 3 min all told.
Remove from frying pan and place the pieces of chicken a flat baking sheet and allow to rest.
Chop all seasonings (onion, celery, tomato, garlic and sweet pepper) and add to the same pan you used to brown the chicken. Saute for 2 min. Add the mushooms and a pinch of salt and stir for another minute.
Turn on your broiler.
Spoon equal amounts of this mixture on to each piece of chicken breast already on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle equal amounts of cheese over the dressed chicken pieces and place the dressed and cheesed chicken breasts on the baking sheet under the broiler.
Broil for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and just turning brown.
Remove and let rest for 3 minutes.
Serve hot with veggies.
Now…who says low-carb has to be boring? 😀