Jamaican Callaloo & Keto: Quiche and Beyond!

People tend to balk at the things that people on the keto diet do NOT eat. “No rice? No potato? I LOVE pasta! How will I manage without bread? I simply cannot give up my fruit!” My response to them is always the same: “And how is that working for you?” Radio silence. It’s plain crazy to want change and keep doing the same things. I also tell them that I choose to focus on what we can and do eat! There’s a whole new, colourful, exciting, delicious world out here in keto-land! One of the things I told myself when I started this keto journey over a year ago is that I’m going to treat this as an adventure and learn to make delicious low-carb dishes that utilize the local ingredients that I grew up with here in Jamaica. I am going to prove to myself and others that the keto diet is possible and sustainable right here in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. I started documenting my journey on Instagram, to showcase my awesome food 🙂 and also as away of holding me accountable. Yup…can’t afford to quit publicly, right? Here’s how I use Jamaican callaloo to make keto dishes that even non-low carbers LOVE!

Continue reading Jamaican Callaloo & Keto: Quiche and Beyond!

Sabotaging your Keto Diet: Friday drinking and Sunday dinners.

Most people have no problem adhering to a healthy eating plan during the week. It is the weekend that sees them undoing all the good they did during the week. It’s understandable though. During the week most of us are on a set schedule with very little down time. So we get up, drop kids to school, go to work, work, pick up kids, head home, deal with our other job at home, rinse, repeat. We’re busy and so we eat set meals that we prepare and carry or order and we’re occupied with things other than eating. Did you get that? “We’re occupied with things other than eating.”  Boredom and inactivity and the absence of a plan lead to picking around and indulging and getting fat! Now I don’t know about you, but I HATE having my time wasted. I can’t imagine anything worse than making an effort all week, eating salads, exercising portion control, drinking up my water, consuming all the good fats and protein, pretending that carbs don’t even exist for goodness’ sake and then wiping out all that gain over two days. Ugh.

Continue reading Sabotaging your Keto Diet: Friday drinking and Sunday dinners.

Starting the Keto Diet: Tips for Success!

So you’ve seen the weight loss transformations. You’ve read the testimonials about improved overall health and quality of life. You’ve seen pictures of the food. You can’t believe this is real, but so many people can’t be wrong. You want to try it for yourself. You are ready to try keto! You want to start the ketogenic diet but you’re not quite sure where to start. I’ll share what I did and offer some tips to set you up for success once you think you want to go keto. Still not sure what keto is and isn’t? I break down the keto diet here. I address 15 of the toughest questions about keto that I’ve received, questions about fruit and keto, alcohol and keto, eating fat to lose fat and so on.

Continue reading Starting the Keto Diet: Tips for Success!

Lose Weight and Gain a Life: Keto helped me do it.

It’s more about the life you gain than the weight you lose.

I promise not to be preachy. There’s nothing more annoying that someone who’s lost 3 lbs preaching all chirpily about the benefits of weight loss from a lofty place on high. “You can do it! Yes you can!” As if we don’t know when we’ve gained a few…or a lot… I mean WTF!

I’m fat. So what? Leave me alone.

Of course I know I’ve gotten bigger.

Continue reading Lose Weight and Gain a Life: Keto helped me do it.

15 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE KETO DIET ANSWERED

“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

My Jamaican Keto Journey AND Intermittent Fasting: A Weight Loss Success Story!

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!

How to Eat Keto in Jamaica: My Weight Loss Journey

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.

Continue reading How to Eat Keto in Jamaica: My Weight Loss Journey

Who says low-carb has to be boring?

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
1 onion
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? 😀

My take on New Year Resolutions

So 2012 is upon us.  I love the idea of a New Year.  I use the opportunity to review the year past and anticipate the year coming.  And yes, I make New Year’s resolutions.  I also make New Year wishes.  I have never gotten everything that I have wished for, neither have I ever kept all my resolutions.  But I have over the years kept some of my resolutions and gotten some of what I have wished for.
I didn’t even need to wait until the end of 2011 to conclude that, all in all, it was a pretty good year for me!  I saw my children mature and do well in school.  I have a passion for teaching, and despite sending my resumes hither thither and yon, I ended up, almost overnight it seemed, teaching for a term at an institution that I hadn’t applied to!  That was a fun and fulfilling experience.  I did pretty well on my nine to five too, hitting pretty much all my targets and seeing my team execute (almost!) flawlessly. And last but certainly not least, I finally ditched some major emotional baggage.  I forgave myself for some wrong moves that I had made in the past and in so doing, freed myself to give and receive forgiveness. I thank God for who I am.
So in starting 2012, I have a few wishes.  Not going to articulate them here…might jinx them!  My resolutions are not dramatic, but significant to me and as I progress, I will add to them and modify them as necessary.  That’s low stress resolution making for you, and I highly recommend it. 
I’ve decided to revert to a low-carb lifestyle.  I know a lot of people get very nervous when they hear low- carb, but I’ve done it before and every single thing about my health improved.  So here we go again.  I will end up losing weight, controlling hormone balances, stabilizing my moods and improving overall well-being.  So far, so good- all seven days of 2012!
I’ve also resolved to review my blessings at the end of each day.  How this became a resolution is a story in and of itself.  Let me back up and start at the beginning of this one.  I had remarked aloud that I was going to start a low-carb diet.  Marcelle, my colleague on the other side of the divide in our workspace, chimed in that she was planning to do likewise.  We began sharing our carb-loving weaknesses, and I confessed that besides rice (oh blessed glorious any kind of rice!) I was fond of munching on salty, crunchy snacks late at night in bed.  She suggested that I replace that habit with an herbal tea habit!  Now I am not a tea drinker, but the way Marcelle suggested it totally intrigued me.  She suggested that I make a ritual of it: get a nice kettle, special mug and create a ceremony of sorts.  I thought: why not? So I went looking for caffeine-free, herbal teas and found a great item!  It’s a sampler box of fruity, herbal teas…great for a beginner like me who has no idea of what she likes.  I started and reported back gleefully to Marcelle.  It really is a very soothing and calming thing, this tea making a drinking last thing at night.  My ex-husband used to enjoy a cup of tea before bed, and used to beg me to make it for him.  I did not. Too much of a production, I thought at the time.  Now I know.  I told Marcelle the irony of the tea making and a few days later, she came to my desk and said: “Let’s talk”.  That was kinda unusual based on our normal type of interaction. I nonetheless replied in surprise: “Sure!  Why not!”  She asked me if I had ever read “Love Languages”.  I replied in the affirmative and said that It is a must read for all people, especially those planning to marry.  Had I read it before I got married, I may still have been married today.  The book teaches you how to understand your spouse and how to make yourself understood.  Great book and I highly recommend it.  That lead to me recommending a related book also written by Gary Chapman: “The Five Languages of Apology”.  That book showed me that I needed to forgive myself and taught me how to.  My colleague seemed genuinely interested in my story of self-forgiveness and she also seemed happy for me.  We concluded our talk and we went our separate ways.
A few days later, Marcelle came to my desk again and said that she had a gift for me if I would accept.  She showed me a book where each day had a tiny space allotted for listing the things that I am grateful for.  She explained that she figured it would be a great addition to my tea ritual.  I slowly saw the sense of what she was recommending. There’s a line in one of my favourite movies, “The Matrix” that speaks about how we as human beings “define ourselves by our misery”.  So true!  I warmed to the idea of ending each day focusing on all that was good in my life.  So this past Thursday, I added articulating my gratitude to my tea ritual at the end of each day.  My children are now in on the tea drinking ritual and the gratitude giving.  To be honest, I had hoped for this to be my thing. But how can I exclude them from something that gives us another opportunity to bond and will hopefully create for them a tradition that they will carry on as they move forward with their own lives?
So there you have it: eating differently, deliberately winding down each night and giving thanks at the end of each day. Like I said, my resolutions this year are not dramatic and I will add and alter as necessary throughout 2012. I think I’m off to a pretty good start.
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