Back in 2018 I did a post showing how we can totally maintain our Caribbean tradition of a huge, delicious Christmas dinner AND remain on track eating low-carb or keto. Four years and several more low-carb Christmas dinners later, I thought an update was in order. I have added some family and friends favourite dishes to my Christmas dinner repertoire and I’m happy to share my recipes and ideas with you here.
My 2018 post was a pretty good one, if I may say so myself! You should check it out. I looked at all of this:
Christmas meat dish options
Low-carb side dishes to replace the traditional crab heavy mac n cheese, rice npeas, etc.
Keto breads to add interest and keep things jiggy
Keto desserts (for what is a festive feast without a dessert table!)
Keto cocktails (yes, we can keep our spirits high should we so choose)
In Part 1 of this three part series, I recounted how the possibility of me in Greece came about and the absolute drama that unfolded at the last minute that nearly (but God!) derailed my dream. In this post, I will share more about my actual experience for the week I was there.
What I thought a Keto Retreat in Greece Would Be
My earliest fantasies about being in Greece started with the food- lamb, olives, cheese, wine- against a backdrop of vivid blue sea and rocky, scrubby outcrops. I had no doubt that a keto retreat would include all of the above, but I also envisioned formal sessions where we would gather round and sit at the feet of Masters and share our victories, struggles and also learn. What happened in actuality was a little different though…
Greece has been on my bucket list for decades now. My vision was clear: olives, wine, lamb, feta, blue seas and dramatic vistas. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew I wanted to visit. Fast forward to July 2022: I made it to Greece! YES!!!! I kept pinching myself and grinning while shaking my head. This post – and two more to follow – will share my (absolutely wonderful) experience in Greece. It explains how I came to be in Greece in 2022 and how I almost never made it at the very last minute. Trust me, what I am about to share is the stuff of movies. Before I get into that drama, however, allow me to share the backstory to how me in Greece became even a possibility.
“Your challenge is to use this fish and come up with a whole meal idea built around the fish. The meal is meant to celebrate something special, a meal for two, you and yours.”
Say less! This was the challenge thrown out by popular media host Miss Kitty one afternoon on her radio programme. I immediately knew I wanted to participate. I knew I’d win too. AND I was going to win with my FULLY KETO meal idea to boot! I immediately called in and miracle of miracles, I was answered and placed in the queue to compete. Bring. It. On.
Spoiler Alert: I won. Of course I did. You’ll see why I was confident of victory in a minute, and why I actually copped the prize. So many people called in requesting my recipes. I also make these dishes regularly, and every time I post a pic, I am asked for the recipes. I decided to simply document the recipes here to make it easy to share whenever I am asked. So ready? Let’s go!
I started my own keto journeyover 4 years ago. During this time, I have also had the honour of working with people who have decided that keto could be their chosen route to wellness as well. We have (re)discovered our livity– that joie de vivre– as we’ve become intentional about our food choices, eschewing sugar and focusing on whole foods, on real food. One of the things I promised myself at the beginning of my journey, was that I would NOT go hungry, nor would I allow myself to feel deprived. I’m happy to say that I have kept my promise to myself. A very important part of my work with clients too, is to show them just how delicious eating low-carb can be. Boredom for those of us who love food (me!) is a death trap, a certain route right back to the foods that made us fat and sick in the first place. I am, therefore, always on the look-out for food options that check all the keto boxes and are also DELICIOUS. So when my friend Roberta from Greek Goes Keto asked me to review her cookbook Greek Goes Keto Pi: It’s all Pie to Me!, without hesitation, I agreed to. And it was everything (and more) that I thought it would be!
I’ve done this. I’ve seen this with a number of persons I’ve had the privilege of coaching. I’ve seen the stories members of our Caribbean Keto Tribehave shared in our Facebook Group. You start off with a fervent desire to lose weight and improve health and your energy matches this desire. Meal prep is done with gusto. You press through the initial uncomfortable days of the “keto flu” and you celebrate with joy & relief with the first 8 pound loss.
Woo-hoo! Your clothes are fitting better and your energy is through the roof, you feel positive and you just KNOW that you’ve found your key to losing weight and feeling good. Then after a few weeks, sometimes it is even a few months, you come off plan for any variety of reasons.
…And then that one cheat meal becomes a cheat weekend, which becomes a cheat week, which becomes a cheat month and before you know it, despite your most fervent desire to return to the heady glory days of your first experience with keto, you remain stuck. You remain unable to consistently eat low-carb even though the weight is creeping back on, even though your energy has dipped, even though you KNOW eating low-carb really and truly worked for you.
So picture it: you didn’t pack a lunch to take to work. You have several errands to run during the course of the day too. It’s noon and you’re hungry. What do you do? Buy 2 Jamaican patties? Turn your car into that fried chicken place drive through? Do you feel cornered into making a choice that you know doesn’t honour your promise to your self and that will derail your progress in the quest for a smaller, healthier body? What if I told you that you can absolutely honour your goals even if you didn’t plan ahead and you’re busy busy busy going here, there and everywhere? The Supermarket Deli has entered the chat!
When my son’s high school principal contacted me and asked if I would be willing to speak to the staff on January 3, 2022 at their annual Professional Learning Community Day for forty-five minutes on: “promoting healthy lifestyle choices” I jumped at the opportunity. She added that she has been following my own keto journey on social media and wanted me to share with the staff how keto has helped me. I was impressed with her vision (a healthy team performs better than an unhealthy one) and I was determined to share in such a way as not to alienate. You see, the keto diet has come in for much maligning from mainstream media. They claim it is unhealthy, they claim it is unsustainable, they claim it fosters disordered eating. All I want is for people to live their best lives ever (as I am doing!) and I KNOW that health & wellness are tied to living a life in alignment & finding purpose. It’s way more than simply looking good and being a certain size.
In my last post “Are Cravings and a Snacking habit getting the better of you?” I explored why we crave the foods we do, why we snack and what giving in to said cravings and a snacking habit could be doing to your health and your livity. If we’re keeping it a buck fifty, the foods we crave all tend to be high-carb, highly processed foods: chips, cookies, ice-cream, bread. And we established that there are valid physiological and psychological reasons at play. You’re not weak neither are you greedy. These hyper-palatable carbohydrate rich foods trigger pathways in our brain that simply make us feel good and when we remain in constant search of that feel-good place we simply repeat the behaviour that led to it in the first place: dependency or addiction.
This dependency on high-carb, hyper-palatable foods for many, many of us negatively impacts our health (we gain weight or we have difficulty taking and keeping off weight), we get bloated and live with various gut-issues like acid reflux & general discomfort, and we are simply trapped in a vicious cycle of having to be constantly thinking of what next will we eat in order to avoid “hangry” states throughout our day. Sounds familiar? Ok. So what next? Do we simply cut out these carbs and flourish? Easier said than done, right? If there is an actual factual dependency on these foods at play, HOW do we break the dependency and how do we meet the need that gave rise to this dependency in the first place?
“I do well all day and then at night I go off the rails!”
“The children’s snacks are my weakness”
“I do well all week and then weekends I just can’t seem to stick to the plan.”
“I need a snack after dinner when we’re watching TV.”
“I get hungry mid-morning and need a snack.”
“At about 4pm I need a little pick-me-upper.”
“I say I’ll just eat 2 cookies and I end up eating the entire pack.”
“If it wasn’t for this sweet tooth I know I could lose some weight.”
Could any of the above statements been made by you? Are any of the above impacting your quality of life? Put differently, are you struggling to lose weight? Are cravings getting the better of you? If not, great! You don’t have to read any further unless you’re simply curious or unless you know someone who is struggling to lose weight and for whom cravings seem to always get the better of and you want to understand what’s going on better. But if you’re like very many of us, trying to lose weight, trying to unshackle yourself from the lure of cravings that you know are unhealthy, read on!