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Keto Cauli Mac

Ketopig’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

 

Ketopig's Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Keto, Low Carb and Paleo
Author: Ketopig

Ingredients

What You Need

  • 1 Big Head Cauliflower
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp White Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Arrowroot Powder (Optional)
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Cheddar cheese (Topping)
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese (Topping)
  • 1/4 Sprinkle Smoked Paprika (Topping)
  • 1/2 Pound Bacon (Topping)
  • 2-3 Stalks Green Onions (Topping)

Instructions

Directions

    Turn oven tempter to 350 degrees F.

    • Clean and cut the florets. Steam the florets for 10 minutes over medium heat or until soft. 
      Keto Cauli Mac
    • To make sauce pour the heavy cream in a heavy bottom pot. Add the cream cheese, mustard powder, smoked paprika, garlic, white pepper and whisk. 
      Keto Cauli mac
    • Add the 1 cup of cheddar to the cheese sauce and mix until melted. 
      Keto Cauli Mac
    • Remove the florets from the heat and put in a baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the florets.
      Keto Cauli Mac
    • Sprinkle on the smoked paprika, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and bacon. Save the green onions until after you take out of the oven.
      Keto Cauli Mac
    • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
      Keto Cauli Mac

    Notes

    I prefer to steam the florets because it's the easiest and fastest way to have dinner on the table in less than thirty minutes. The cauliflower holds water if you boil it. I have also baked it before adding the cheese sauce and it seems like a lot of unnecessary work and time.
    I like using the mustard powder because it compliments the cheese sauce without the vinegar from regular bottled mustard. 
    Depending on what kind of cheese you use you may or may not need the arrowroot powder. For example the pre-shredded cheese has thickeners in it to keep it from sticking together, you won't need the arrowroot but if you're like me and you shred your own quality grass fed cheese you may want that tsp of arrowroot powder. I've made it without just to see and it's not as thick. It really isn't something to worry about if you don't have arrowroot handy. 
    I also tried mascarpone cheese in this recipe instead of cream cheese and it was so delicious creamy and rich.  

    Keto Cauli Mac

    Keto Cauli Mac

    Keto Cauli Mac

    Keto Swiss Roll

    Keto Swiss Roll

    In my two years on the ketogenic diet, I’ve really struggled to find a substitute for a traditional cake that fits many of the recipe requirements our family has adopted on our journey. That means no grains and no gums, and as few carbs as possible, all wrapped up in something that is as close as possible to a traditional bakery treat.

    Wheat flour has so many negatives to it apart from the sheer number of carbohydrates and it’s astronomical glycemic load. But my experiments with almond flour, most people’s go-to substitute for wheat, have consistently been too dense and often gritty. My exploration into alternative flours has yielded so many delicious dishes made with combinations of cassava and coconut flours, and I knew I was within striking distance of something amazing.

    And by amazing, I mean a chocolate Swiss cake roll. I can’t keep my husband out of it.

    I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

    Keto Swiss Roll
    Print Recipe
    5 from 1 vote

    Keto Swiss Roll

    This low carb Swiss roll cake is super easy to make and has perfect texture! I'm so excited about this recipe because it doesn't taste gritty or "eggy" with only 4 eggs and no grains, no almond flour and no gums! If your weakness has "Little Debbie" or "Hostess" stamped all over it, this reduced carb substitute will have you snacking (nearly) guilt free.
    Prep Time10 mins
    Total Time25 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Keto, Low Carb and Paleo
    Author: KetoPig

    Ingredients

    What you need for wet ingredients

    What you need for the dry ingredients

    What you need for the cream filling

    • 4 oz Cream cheese
    • 2 Tbsp Monkfruit sweetener (Buy on Amazon)
    • 1 Tsp Vanilla extract
    • 1 Cup Heavy cream

    Instructions

    • Pre heat oven to 350 F 
    • You'll need a large pan 10x16 or larger. A baking sheet with raised sides works perfectly.
    • Whisk all the wet ingredients first and set a side. 
      Keto Swiss Roll
    • In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly. the  it to the liquid mixture. 
    • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing slowly until consistent like a thick cake batter.
      Keto Swiss Roll
    • Spread the batter in your pan. You do not need to spread it to the sides, only enough to have it look evenly flat. It will spread the rest of the way on its own when it gets hot. 
    • Place in the oven to bake. It also doesn't need long time to cook because it's spread thinner then normal cake. If you're making a regular cake in a 8x10 or a 8in round pan with this recipe, I would bake it a little longer, so add 5-10 minutes. Keeping a watchful eye so that you don't burn it.  
    • You can check it making sure it's done when a tooth pick comes out clean and you'll be able to smell that it's done too. Let it cool for about an hour.
      Keto Swiss Roll
    • While the cake is cooling, make the cream filling. Whip the heavy cream, sweetener and vanilla first. After you get that good and smooth you can add in the heavy cream and continue to whip it with a blender until it resembles cream frosting or I like to call it mousse. Yum! 
    • When your cake is room temp, frost it with all that delicious cream! Take the sides of the parchment paper and start to roll it up using the paper. You shouldn't have to touch the cake at all. When you have it rolled it up, leave it in the paper and put it in the fridge for at least an hour before slicing.  
      Keto Swiss Roll

    Keto Swiss Roll

    Keto Swiss Roll

    Keto Swiss Roll

    Keto Swiss Roll

    Keto swiss roll

    Keto swiss roll

    Keto swiss roll

    Keto swiss roll

    Keto swiss roll

    Keto Swiss Roll

     

    Keto meat loaf

    Keto Pig’s Meat Loaf

     

    KetoPig's Meat Loaf

    I love a good meat loaf. Ever since starting keto, I have been able to enjoy more of what meat loaf has to offer, like all that delicious grass fed meat! However, when you normally make meat loaf you use a ton of bread crumbs to give it that tender texture. I'm so excited to share my low carb, grain-free recipe with all of you. This moist meat loaf that is full of flavor will make your mouth water and having your whole family going back for seconds. 
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time1 hr
    Total Time1 hr 10 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Keto, Low Carb and Paleo
    Servings: 12
    Author: KetoPig

    Ingredients

    What you need for the bread crumbs

    • 1/2 cup Nutritional yeast
    • 2 tbsp Flax seed meal
    • 2 tbsp Italian seasonings
    • 2 tbsp Cassava flour
    • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp Dried minced onion
    • 1 tbsp Coconut flour
    • 1 tsp Salt
    • 1 tsp Black pepper

    What you need for the meat

    • 2 pounds Grass fed beef
    • 2 large Eggs
    • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 tbsp Mustard

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400 F. 
    • Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
    • In another bowl add the eggs, worcestershire and mustard. Blend thoroughly with a fork.
    • Add the meat to the egg mixture and with a spoon mash it together.
      Keto meat loaf
    • Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined
      Keto meat loaf
    • Press the mixture firmly into a regular size loaf pan, then place in the oven to bake for xxx minutes.
      Keto meat loaf

    Keto meat loaf

    Keto meat loaf

    Keto meat loaf

     

    Keto Butter Cups

     

    Keto Butter Cups

    These are the perfect treat for your loved ones on Valentine's Day or any other day that is special to you! Surprise your friends and family with these easy, fast and delicious low carb treats. 
    Prep Time20 mins
    Total Time20 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Keto, Low Carb and Paleo
    Servings: 24
    Author: KetoPig

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a pot on low heat. 
    • In a separate bowl add in almond butter, vanilla, vitafiber, monkfruit sweetener, butter and salt. 
    • Combine throughly and you may want to heat 30 sec in microwave if you had your almond butter stored in the fridge. Set this aside and prepare your mini cups.
    • Take the melted chocolate and fill all the cups less then half way about a quarter full. Put in the freezer for about ten minutes.
    • Take the filling and fill to about 3/4's, leaving just enough room for the top layer of chocolate. There is more then enough butter filling to fill 24 cups so be generous. 
    • Then add the rest of the melted chocolate to each cup and replace in freezer for about 10 minutes. 
    • Store them in the fridge or room temperature if you like them a bit softer.   
    The KetoPig loves quality and healthy ingredients, and is pleased to be sponsored by VitaFiber! Some of the links in this post are sponsored and buying VitaFiber products via these links and using checkout code VFGSCH20 helps support the site while saving you 20%. Thank you!
    Coconut cluster

    Keto Coconut Clusters

     

    Keto Coconut Clusters

    If you've ever seen coconut clusters at the store I'm sure you've picked up the bag only to find out that you can't have them. All that sugar and honey is a no-go for keto or low carb. I remember seeing these and immediately thinking I'm sure I can't have them because most companies add sugar in some form (sometimes in multiple forms!) to everything but ultimately I was excited to think just how easy to would be to make them myself.  
    With very few ingredients this keto friendly recipe is a breeze to make! It is perfect for a sweet treat, and what a treat they are for the tummy too! Getting through the holidays with keto and VitaFiber as my secret weapon has helped me more than I ever expected. I am starting off the new year with a bang and ready for success... I'm thankful for everything I've learned and happy to share it with all of you!
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time5 mins
    Total Time15 mins
    Course: Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Keto, Low Carb and Paleo

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • In your toaster oven or in the oven, lightly toast the coconut flakes, being careful not to burn them. 
    • I used the toaster oven but if you want a more accurate toast then cook the coconut in a pan over medium heat continually stirring until lightly brown. 
      Keto Cluster
    • In a bowl add the seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and monkfruit sweetener. Stir until combined. 
    • Take the warm coconut flakes and add them to the seed mix. 
      Keto Cluster
    • Drizzle the VitaFiber into the mix. It helps the VitaFiber spread evenly if the coconut flakes are still warm. 
      Keto Cluster
    • After you have combined everything throughly, lay out on a piece of parchment paper to dry out, using a spatula to compress into a shallow loaf shape.
      Keto Cluster
    • After a few hours of drying time, gently break the loaf into cluster snack sized pieces to enjoy!
      Keto Cluster

    Keto Cluster

     

    The KetoPig loves quality and healthy ingredients, and is pleased to be sponsored by VitaFiber! Some of the links in this post are sponsored and buying VitaFiber products via these links and using checkout code VFGSCH20 helps support the site while saving you 20%. Thank you!

     

    keto Teriyaki

    Keto Teriyaki Chicken

     

    Keto Teriyaki Chicken

    Sweet and savory recipes are on top of my list for comfort foods. Yet they're rarely healthy and instead of giving you comfort they give you bloating and upset tummies as a bonus. If you've been looking into keto for weight loss, you're about to receive much more than just a smaller pant size.
    There is something quite satisfying about being able to eat those familiar flavors and feeling recharged, not tired and heavy. Keto comfort foods do exactly that! This low carb recipe is one of my family's favorite dishes and thanks to VitaFiber we are able to enjoy some of our favorite foods again. Here's to having 2 or 3 helpings and not feeling bad about it.
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time30 mins
    Total Time50 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Author: KetoPig

    Ingredients

    • 3 Pounds Chicken Breast
    • 2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil Cooking
    • 1 Cup Coconut Aminos
    • 3 Tbsp VitaFiber Syrup (Use code VFGSCH20 for 20% off!)
    • 1 Tbsp Monkfruit Sweetener
    • 1/8 Tsp Molasses Extract Amoretti Extract, Molasses
    • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 3 Tbsp Dry Cherry
    • 4 Tbsp Sesame Oil
    • 3 Tbsp Arrowroot Starch
    • 1 Whole Garlic Bulb Chopped
    • 1 Head Broccoli Chopped
    • 3-4 Stalk Green Onion Chopped
    • 3 Tbsp Black/White Sesame Seeds Garnishing

    Instructions

    • In a bowl add all of the wet ingredients along with the arrowroot and monkfruit sweetener. Stir with a hand whisk and set aside. 
    • Cut up all the chicken into bite sized pieces. In your wok heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until chicken is mostly done.
      keto Teriyaki
    • While the chicken is cooking, chop up the garlic and toss in with the chicken. 
      Keto Teriyaki
    • Add salt and pepper to taste before adding the wet ingredients. The coconut aminos is very bland, unlike soy sauce, so don't be afraid to use salt.
    • After you add the wet ingredients to the chicken add the chopped broccoli to your wok and cook until broccoli is tender about 15 minutes. 
      keto Teriyaki
    • By this time your sauce should be looking thick and smelling delicious. 
      keto Teriyaki
    • This goes perfect with cauliflower rice or by its self. 
      keto Teriyaki

    keto Teriyaki

    keto Teriyaki

     

     

    Keto Pfeffernüsse

    Have you ever had a Pfeffernüsse? As a special request from my husband, this was my first time making them… And wow, let me just say these are fantastic! They have a lot more zing than gingerbread, making them a bit more of an “adult” cookie that goes great with coffee or something stronger.

    Try them out and let me know what you think in the comments below!

    Keto Pfeffernüsse

    This low carb keto cookie is soft and spicy delicious. A German cookie with a healthy twist.
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Total Time25 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Servings: 30 30
    Author: Ketopig

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • If your cookie dough is ready, preheat oven to 350F. 
      Pfeffernüsse Dough
    • In a bowl add the dry ingredients and mix. 
      Pffernusse Wet Ingredients
    • In a sauce pan add the Vitafiber, butter and melt over low heat while stirring continuously. Remove from heat add in the anise and eggs and mix well before adding that into the dry ingredients. Wrap and place in the fridge for two or more hours. 
      Pfeffernüsse Dough
    • Wrap and place in the fridge for two or more hours.
    • Roll into 1 and 1/2 inch sized balls and place on a baking sheet, flattening slightly if desired. Bake time is 15 minutes for all 30 cookies. 
      Pfeffernüsse Out of the Oven
    • Allow to cool for 20 minutes, then frost or drizzle with chocolate glaze.

    The KetoPig loves quality and healthy ingredients, and is pleased to be sponsored by VitaFiber! Some of the links in this post are sponsored and buying VitaFiber products via these links and using checkout code VFGSCH20 helps support the site while saving you 20%. Thank you!

    Keto Cheesecake

    Best keto cheesecake! This keto recipe makes 12 servings and is 10 sugar alcohol carbs per piece with all the monkfruit sweetener. If you want to cut the carbs in half use half as much monkfruit sweetener and then sweeten to taste with stevia drops before adding the eggs. Pre-heat your oven to 350F and cook time is 50-65 minutes depending on what pan you use.

    What you need

    Crust

    1 egg

    5 Tbsp butter (Grass fed)

    1 Tsp vanilla extract

    1/2 Tsp maple extract

    1/2 Cup Almond Flour Blanched

    1/2 Cup  Coconut Flour

    1/4 Tsp baking powder

    Filling

    4 Eggs and 1 egg yoke (room temperature)

    3 Packs of 8oz cream cheese (room temperature)

    1/2 Cup Lakanto Monkfruit 1:1 Sugar Substitute

    1 Tbsp vanilla

    Squeeze lemon juice

    Directions

    We’ll make the crust first and prepare the filling later while the crust is in the oven.  If you love the crust and are using pie pans make two batches for each pie pan. However I think it’s too much crust so I cut 1 batch in half to have a thinner crust. I prepared this recipe in a 9″ spring form pan, or, this recipe will fit nicely in two 8-9 inch pie pans. Put in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.

    I also put the pie pans or spring pan on top of another baking sheet to help from scorching the bottom. I think it cooks better that way.

    While the crust is in the oven, start on the filling. In a bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar, mixing until smooth. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and eggs. With a hand mixer on low/medium speed, whip until combined. I have tried the soft cream cheese (lactose free cream cheese) and it doesn’t work as well… The filling always sinks every time. Use the hard cream cheese and you’ll have a delicious no-fall cheesecake.

    If you are using the spring form pan, make sure to spray/butter the interior sides so the filling doesn’t stick causing a crack in the middle. I used coconut oil spray and sprayed it after the crust cooked and immediately before putting the filling in the pan.

    Pour the filling mixture onto the hot crust and return it to the oven, still at 350 degrees. The cook time for a 9 inch spring pan will be about 60-65 minutes, or for the two 9″ pie pans, plan a baking time of 50 minutes.

    When its done, turn off oven and leave in the oven with door open until cool enough, 1 to 2 hours, to go in fridge.

    Cream topping

    1 Cups heavy cream

    4 Oz cream cheese

    2 Tbsp Lakanto Monkfruit 1:1 Sugar Substitute

    1/2 Tbsp vanilla

    Directions

    The cream topping goes on after the cheesecake cools completely. Whip the heavy cream until you get whipped cream and in a separate bowl whip the cream cheese with the sweetener and vanilla. Combine these two after both are whipped separately. This helps you get a smooth cream with no chunks. Spread evenly across the top and you’re ready for the  most delicious cheesecake of your life.

     

    keto stuffing

    Keto Stuffing

     

     

    Thanksgiving stuffing Keto

    Thanksgiving stuffing (or dressing depending on where you're from) is a must in our home for the holidays. Keto breads make this dish possible and just as delicious as the real thing. This recipe is based on how much turkey dripping/gravy you have. It's up to you how much stuffing you want, so adjust measurements with that in mind. I love the texture of having two different breads. The keto no-corn bread has a rough texture while the keto low carb bread is more soft. It's also pretty and tastes more like the real thing.
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Keto, Low Carb and Paleo

    Ingredients

    What you need

    • 1 pan Keto no-corn bread Keto No CornBread
    • 1 loaf Keto low-carb bread Keto Loaf Bread
    • 10 oz Turkey breakfast sausage
    • 4-5 Celery Stalks
    • 1 Onion Chopped
    • 24 Herbs and Seasonings Bragg's Brand (as much as desired)
    • Turkey drippings as much as desired

    Instructions

    Directions

    • Make the two different breads ahead of time (one or two days before) so it's not a rush when Thanksgiving comes. Cut the bread into approximately one inch cubes and put in the baking dish you'll use. 
      keto bread
    • Leave this dish out on the counter with cloth over it for the bread to dry. The day of Thanksgiving, lightly saute the onions and celery in a pan.
    • Add the sausage and finish cooking until barely brown. In the baking dish were you have the bread add the veggies and meat.
      keto stuffing
    •  Toss gently without breaking up the bread, then add a generous amount turkey drippings/gravy (your choice) and put in the oven at 350 F. covered with foil for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for a further ten minutes if desired for a crispy top.
      keto stuffing

    Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to pig out keto style!

     

     

     

    Keys to Ketogenic Diet Success

    5 Keys To Keto Success

    My 5 Keys to Keto Success

    The idea behind the ketogenic diet is simple… Get your body into a state of fat-burning (ketosis) and you’ll lose weight and improve your health. But there are so many details, and I get so many questions about what my journey was like, how many grams or macros or calories you should or shouldn’t have, as though there’s a magic set of numbers or a formula that is going to guarantee success.

    I have some good news, and some bad news.

    There isn’t a simple formula to winning back your health with keto. But, there are a number of simple ideas (with some more complex knowledge behind them) that will help you get the early success you need to put you on the path to your goals.

    This post is about sharing those “lightbulb” moments where something really clicked on and I understood what my body was doing and why, and more importantly how I could control both my mental state and my body very effectively with what I put in my mouth.

    This knowledge came to me in five key realizations…

    • Hormones Control Your Mind and Your Body
    • Eating Healthy Fat, Not Fiber, is the Key to Not Being Hungry
    • Your Body Needs Real, Bio-Available Electrolytes
    • Many Plants, Even Good Plants at the Wrong Times, Cause Inflammation
    • Healthy Whole Grain Goodness is a Horrible Lie

    Keto

    I’m calling these my 5 Keys to Keto Success, and I hope by sharing them with you that it will accelerate your keto journey.

    I’m going to talk about each of these below, and why they have a huge effect on your body. And where these pieces of advice run counter to the conventional wisdom we have all been exposed to, I’m also going to try to explain why that conventional wisdom is not only misguided, but in some cases an outright lie that can ruin your health.

    As always, I am not a doctor, and if you’re under the care of a professional you should involve them in your health decisions. Every person, and every person’s body, is different. But these keys have changed my life and the lives of my family so much for the better, and I’m hoping they will do the same for you!

    Hormones Control Your Mind and Your Body

    We all think we’re in charge. You couldn’t be more wrong.

    When you’re hungry, and I mean really hungry, there isn’t anything that’s going to come between you and that syrup drenched waffle with the strawberries on top. And it’s not because you’re weak, or because you don’t know better, or because your rational mind doesn’t want to say no. It’s because our bodies respond in a much stronger way to the chemical signals in them that have kept our species alive and kicking. That pitiful bit of strength that you think of as “willpower” is no match for biology.

    These chemical signals are called hormones. Hormones drive our behavior, and the hormones our bodies produce in response to the foods we do or don’t eat are some of the most powerful in our body. They are an opponent bigger than any of us and you’ll lose if you fight them head on.

    Keto is hormone jiujitsu. Instead of blocking and punching your hormones to try to fend off hunger, you meld with them and use their momentum and power to your own advantage.

    So let’s understand what the key dietary hormones are and what they do in our bodies. Here’s the first two.

    • Insulin. Everyone hears about insulin because diabetes is becoming a worldwide epidemic. You probably know insulin goes up when you eat sugar. Actually, insulin goes up to some extent when you eat anything. It just goes up A LOT when you eat carbohydrates. But why? Insulin’s job in your body is to signal fat cells in your body to pull glucose (carbohydrate energy) out of your blood and store it. Elevated glucose in your blood will destroy your kidneys, so your pancreas cranks out insulin to tell your liver, muscle and fat tissues to start soaking it up to protect the body. And, it also shuts down production of our next hormone, glucagon.
    • Glucagon. Glucagon is insulin’s mirror twin. Where insulin tells your fat cells to save glucose, glucagon is the hormone that signals the release of fat back into the blood stream. This is because our body needs energy, and there’s not a ready supply elsewhere, so we need to go get that energy out of the long term storage (which is to say your big belly or your thighs or where ever that adipose tissue has made a not-so-welcome home on you.)

    An important thing to understand is that insulin and glucagon are opposites, and your body treats them this way. If your insulin is turned on, you are in fat storage mode and your body will not produce glucagon. Similarly, if glucagon is turned on, your body is in the mode of releasing stored fat (not storing it), and insulin is turned off. Your body simply does not produce both of these hormones at the same time, and one or the other of them is always on depending on what your body needs.

    So you can probably guess, we want glucagon to be turned on most of the time if we’re trying to lose weight. That’s simple enough. But it sounds like turning off insulin and turning on glucagon means is going to translate into something like “hungry” in our metabolism. So it’s a good thing that our mental “hungry” state isn’t tied directly to these two hormones!

    Let’s talk about our next two hormones, the ones that directly relate to that sense of hunger:

    • Ghrelin. The sense of needing to eat, right now, urgently, pass the potatoes and oh just one more cookie comes from ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. It’s the sumo wrestler in the room and it will not be ignored. When your ghrelin is high enough, you will eat whatever is in front of you, no matter what it is, no matter how unhealthy. Ghrelin is produced directly by your stomach and it signals the animal instinct parts of your brain, including the hypothalamus and the reward system pathways in the amygdala that deal with addiction and emotions. Ghrelin’s nickname is “hangry” in case you didn’t know.
    • Leptin. Leptin is the hormone that signals you to stop eating. That sense of being full and satisfied is leptin doing its job. You can think of leptin as the easy-going referee that rings the bell and tells our sumo wrestler ghrelin to go take a break in the corner. The easiest way to control leptin is to put foods in your body that turn leptin production on. We’re going to talk about what foods do that in the next section, and you should prepare to be shocked.

    Ghrelin SumoLike insulin and glucagon, leptin and ghrelin are active at different times in the body and one or the other is predominately at work at any given point in time. When we’re trying to lose weight, it’s advantageous to have leptin raised and ghrelin low. When ghrelin is asleep, it’s not hard to pass on the waffles.

    In a healthy person, it takes at least four hours after your last meal before your hormones “switch” between modes. Ironically, this is roughly the window of time that many nutritionists recommend spacing your daily snacks and meals. So while you’ll never be (very) hungry, your insulin level is never going to drop and you’ll never be burning any body fat. Longer eating windows and intermittent fasting aren’t about calorie restriction as much as they are about insulin reduction. And low insulin is an enormous enabler of good health.

    If you know at a high level how these hormones work, you already have some very powerful tools for understanding how to get the results you want out of your body without willpower or mental fatigue. But before we leave this topic, it’s worth pointing out what happens when our cells stop responding to these hormones properly because they’re drowning in one or the other of them all day long.

    All of these hormones have an effect on our brain and our behavior, and that’s a good thing. When we need food, it’s important that our body tells us, especially thousands of years ago when food might be scarce. It told us what was needed and what we should be doing, like when it is time to turn off the TV and go out hunting.

    We live in different times now, and food is plentiful, so these signaling mechanisms are less important to actual survival. But they can still be life-or-death for some of us, especially if our bodies stop responding to them. It’s like an alarm clock that never stops ringing. You pay a lot of attention at first, but later you have no choice but to ignore the racket. Hormone resistance, where our cells essentially start ignoring these ringing chemical signals, will slowly but surely kill you.

    The major hormone resistance disease we are all familiar with is diabetes. Type 2 diabetes begins where your cells stop responding to insulin, and as a result those cells stop taking up glucose from the bloodstream. Your pancreas doesn’t understand. It just keeps seeing glucose floating around, so it makes more insulin. Because there’s so much insulin in the bloodstream, the cells become even more likely to ignore it, becoming even more resistant. The pancreas is working overtime and is eventually headed for burnout (pancreatitis or cancer), but it eventually just gives up. The kidneys are trying to pick up the slack and working as a last resort to get glucose out of the blood. The excess blood sugar starts wreaking havoc on the circulatory and nervous systems, leading to neuropathy, blindness and other complications.

    Excess glucose is bad news, but the other thing you should know about insulin is that it too is a powerful inflammatory agent that affects your entire body. High levels of insulin actually irritate the lining of your blood vessels, which plays a role in coronary artery disease. Some cardiologists are starting to look not just at blood lipids in general, but inflammation, as risk markers for cardiac events. And it may be that lipids and cholesterol actually are protective responses to inflammation, not the source of the problem. Some neurologists even associate high levels of insulin with inflammation of the nervous system. You might know nervous system inflammation by the names Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

    Diabetes, and all its complications, along with several other major health problems is related to the side effects of having too much circulating insulin.

    It seems counter-intuitive to think that something our body makes and is so central to processing food could be associated with these devastating diseases, but there is increasing research tying all of these conditions together. What should be clear is that limiting the amount and the total time that insulin is circulating in your bloodstream is good for so much more than just managing your body weight.

    If you are eating three meals a day four or five hours apart, and fitting snacks in between meals, your insulin levels are never down, and you are training your body to be both insulin and leptin resistant. Yet somehow, that’s the advice we’re given.

    And the foods that produce glucose (and encourage ghrelin) aren’t just white sugar. It’s any carbohydrates. Metabolically, all starches from all carbohydrates are ultimately converted to blood glucose and require insulin secretion. Some may be “faster” or “slower” (their glycemic index), some may cause a huge insulin burst instead of a longer term release, but they all get processed by exactly the same metabolic machinery.

    We’ve been getting decades worth of advice to shovel in carbohydrates morning, noon and night that spike our insulin and train our bodies to store fat continuously. Is it any wonder so many of us are starting to look like our mental picture of Sumo Ghrelin or fighting the muffin top bursting out our of spandex tights?

    Our goal is to lower our insulin for a large part of the day. That means eating less often if we can, allowing those windows of time to open up where our glucagon is elevated and our body starts to enjoy burning stored fat again.

    So how do we do that without being hungry? What do we eat instead of carbohydrates?

    Eating Healthy Fats, Not Fiber, is the Key to Not Being Hungry

    WHOA.

    So again, the conventional wisdom is wrong. We have been told over and over again to eat a low-fat diet. We hear “you are what you eat” and we’re told to stay away from butter or avocados or coconut oil because they will go “right to your thighs.” This advice seems appealingly obvious and we want to believe it because it’s so super simple. But it’s dead wrong.

    Your fat cells do not store fat that you eat. In fact, when you eat fat, your body has to go through a number of complex extra steps to turn it into energy that can be passed around in the bloodstream. In contrast, carbohydrates are readily and immediately processed into glucose, and that glucose triggers insulin which triggers fat storage. Remember how important those hormones are?

    If we eat the right types of fat, our digestive processes and our liver break these down into a different type of molecular energy that our cells can use for energy. Some of these fatty acids and dietary protein can be processed even further by the liver and turned into a small amount glucose for body functions that demand that fuel source (our brain is one example), but this process is so complex it makes your typical “complex carbohydrate” meal look like a bowl of fruit loops in comparison.

    You get fat because of carbohydrate intake. You do not get fat because of the fats you eat.

    Rather, you can see that dietary fat does very little to raise insulin levels. It still provides energy. And it elevates the sense of being hungry so that you’re full and satisfied for much longer after a meal. One of the most powerful ways to turn on leptin (the “full and satisfied” hormone) is to eat healthy fats. Fats take longer to digest, so your stomach stays fuller longer and you naturally increase the time between meals without even thinking about it.

    The hormone response to fat is so strong that you just about can’t overeat it. You’ll get sick, almost to the point of throwing up, if you over eat fats. Compare that to carbohydrates. Nobody stops eating carbs until you reach the bottom of the potato chip bag. Often, not even then. There’s no hormone signal to tell you to stop, nothing to signal you’re satisfied, just an endless race back and forth to grocery store for more cereal and sugar.

    When your cells are using fatty acids for fuel, whether from dietary sources or as a result of glucagon encouraging the release of stored fat from adipose cells, your body is in a state of ketosis. Ketosis does not mean your body is starving. It just means it’s using fats instead of carbohydrates to keep the lights on. It’s like your body switched over from burning diesel fuel to running on solar power.

    And that’s not just a random analogy. Your cells burning ketones instead of glucose produces much less “pollution” to get the same amount of work done. But that’s an article for another day.

    But what about fiber? That’s the other macronutrient that comes up as a way to satisfy hunger. We need fiber to keep the digestive processes working smoothly, and there are certain kinds of fiber that are especially helpful for establishing and maintaining healthy bacteria in your intestines.

    Fiber can also be an incidental help with controlling hunger, but it’s not nearly as powerful as a signal from fat. Fiber will serve as bulk in your stomach, which can help to slow ghrelin production down, but it doesn’t do much of anything to raise leptin. Without fats to slow down the gastric process, that fiber is only going to stay briefly in your stomach before it moves on, setting the stage for ghrelin to jump back into the spotlight.

    There’s another bigger reason to be wary of fiber as the end-all, be-all solution for appetite control. A lot of fiber comes attached to something else that we’re trying to avoid. Carbohydrates. Whole wheat, whole corn, whole rolled oats, whole legumes, basically anything to which the evil marketing monkeys have attached the “whole” word, are going to include as part of their “wholesomeness” a healthy dose of whole glucose and whole inflammation.

    No amount of insulin surge is going to be worth whatever fiber you’re getting from these food choices. Get your fiber from whole lettuce, whole broccoli or whole cauliflower, but slather them in avocado oil or butter to keep you satiated.

    You may still not be convinced, and you’re hanging onto grandma’s low-fat advice. And margarine. Good gracious.

    And certainly, there are many kinds of fat that are bad for you. Almost universally, the oils that come from grains are filled to the brim with inflammatory fats that you should minimize. This includes corn oil, canola oil, vegetable shortening and all their cousins. And, you should look carefully at animal fats when those animals were raised on diets eating grains. Cows were meant to eat grass, not the equivalent of a junk food diet of concentrated corn, soy and wheat carbohydrates. The milk and dairy products from these animals is one step removed from your actually haven’t eaten these same carbohydrate dense foods yourself, and the products of those animals will be both nutrient deprived and inflammatory.

    Your body needs fats. Many nutrients are fat soluble, and they won’t be absorbed by your body unless you eat fat with them. Even cholesterol, that horrible villain we keep hearing about, plays a hugely important role in your body. Your cell walls and membranes? Your skin? They are made of cholesterol. Hormones? Most of them start out as a product of cholesterol. That inconsequential organ sitting between your ears? For all intents and purposes, it’s a huge cholesterol blob.

    So by all means, go cook up some bug-fed, pasture raised eggs, yolks and all, in a bunch of grass fed butter. Not only will you be amazed at how long you stay satisfied, but the rest of your body will be loving the nutrition you’re passing along with all those healthy fats.

    Your Body Needs Real, Bio-Available Electrolytes

    At this point, you understand the basic change you can get from controlling your hormones, and you have a basic idea of what change you want to make in your diet to do that. But if you’ve been on the insulin inflammation treadmill for years, your body is still going to push back a bit.

    A common condition many new keto dieters encounter is the so-called “keto-flu” that comes along with adapting to a fat metabolism. Any change is uncomfortable, but this initial discomfort has some biology attached to it as well. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix.

    When you start out on keto, you’re probably coming from a very carbohydrate rich metabolism, where both your liver and your muscles will have grabbed as much glucose as they can and stored it as glycogen. When you start cutting carbohydrates out of your diet, your body will initially use its stores of liver and muscle glycogen as energy before the glucagon hormone switches on enough to release stored body fat.

    Glycogen ties glucose up with a fair bit of water, so when you use this energy your body will release this excess water pretty readily. The good news is that means a quick bit of early weight loss, but you’ll also be flushing along quite a lot electrolytes as this weight leaves your body.

    Additionally, once you do start burning stored fat, that metabolic process results in waste carbon dioxide and more water from burning ketones. Your natural instinct will probably be to drink more water as a means of staying satiated as well, so there’s plenty of water that your body is processing.

    The lost electrolytes are a big part of why many keto dieters feel fatigued during the adaptation period. A good way to minimize this is to supplement with good quality electrolytes, especially magnesium. Normally we get a lot of magnesium as part of the chlorophyll in green plants, but even if you’re eating an organic vegetable rich diet, so many vegetables are grown in tired, nutrient poor soil and more people are unknowingly magnesium deficient from the get go. Keto adaption just makes it worse.

    To help avoid this, generously use natural salts when cooking, for example sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, which has a wide range of minerals in naturally occurring concentrations. Avoid highly distilled bottled water, which has been stripped of all of its mineral content and will attempt to rebalance itself by taking minerals from your body before it leaves you. Drink high-mineral content spring water such as San Pellegrino.

    Supplements can be helpful, but it is important to research which ones provide the best bioavailability. There are many types of magnesium supplements, and some are absorbed more effectively than others by different tissues in your body. The cheapest magnesium supplements usually contain magnesium oxide, which is very difficult for your body to absorb. Magnesium citrate is a better alternative, or chelated magnesium (magnesium glycinate) is much better absorbed.

    Consider Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths, possibly with other added mineral salts. Not only are these extraordinarily relaxing, but minerals are absorbed very effectively through your skin. Our Sunday evening bath is an amazing end to a the usual hectic weeks here, and I sleep like a baby after a hot magnesium soak.

    When people, especially physically active folks, hear the word “electrolytes” often their first thought goes to sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade. Even if these drinks weren’t loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives, the electrolytes in these beverages are synthetically produced and much further away from the natural sources your body is eager to take up. After a hard workout, a liter of natural mineral water is going to quench your thirst in a much more satisfying way than any of these noxious Crayola colored concoctions, and it’s probably cheaper too… That’s a rarity on this diet!

    Many Plants, Even Good Plants at the Wrong Times, Cause Inflammation

    A big part of feeling good through the adaptation process and beyond is avoiding inflammation.

    After reading about the role of insulin-induced inflammation in many diseases, you know I’m very attuned to this now. As we switched to keto and started eating larger portions of a wider variety of vegetables, our whole family became much more aware of how specific vegetables affected each of us. In learning more about this, one of the topics I discovered later than I wished was lectins.

    There are many plants that you’ll find are entirely benign. If you think about it, have you ever encountered anyone who has an allergy to something like lettuce?

    But there are many plants that provoke reactions from people, and it turns out this isn’t as random as you might think. And many plants that don’t seem to have a visibly adverse effect on you personally may not actually be as good for you as you think.

    Many plants evolved chemical defenses to discourage insects or even mammals from eating them regularly. This allowed the plants to survive and spread more easily. This is really no different from plants developing thorns or needles to protect them. By discouraging predators from chewing them to pieces, those plants were afforded more opportunity to thrive.
    Many plants have obvious “do not eat” signs on them. Many plants are acutely toxic and will kill you if you eat them. But many plants we eat on a regular basis have, for exactly the same reasons, low levels of toxins in them that may not make you noticeably sick unless you eat them in large quantity. Those same plants may be tolerable in smaller amounts, but worse, they’ll make you sick slowly over time, seemingly without cause.

    A good example is many fruits. Fruits are ripened in a way that makes them attractive for birds and mammals to eat, so that the seeds are carried away from the parent plant and deposited somewhere that they have a chance to grow. But before those fruits are naturally ripe, many varieties have toxins on their peels and skins to prevent predators from harvesting the fruit before the seeds might be fully ready. If you’ve ever had a fruit tree and wondered why the birds and bugs don’t feast on all the immature fruits growing on a tree, but suddenly once everything ripens, the whole bushel comes under attack in the space of a few days, this is the reason. The natural consumers of this plant bounty know when it’s ripe and when it’s ready to eat. You have these same instincts when you’re at the grocery store squeezing things.

    These natural proteins that protect seeds and plants and fruits are called lectins. They’re nature’s insecticides and they’re designed to discourage you from eating things that either aren’t ripe, or that aren’t really good to eat at all. Many lectins can be neutralized by cooking, and that’s a big reason so many cultures have evolved traditions for cooking many types of foods in very specific ways.

    Think about potatoes for a minute. You probably wouldn’t consider for a minute the idea of eating a raw potato, and instinctively you may have some idea that it would make you feel a little sick. But a raw carrot sounds great. Some of this may be conditioning, that you’ve grown up cooking potatoes and eating carrots raw, but somehow this information is in your head and regardless of how it got there, you know you’d better boil that potato thoroughly before it makes its way into your digestive tract.

    Another culprit is beans. Beans contain enormous amounts of lectins, and if you work with beans in a recipe you know there’s a specific protocol for soaking, rinsing and cooking them. If you don’t follow this procedure, the people who enjoy your cooking can wind up very sick. The neurotoxin ricin is extracted from castor beans, and it’s actually a lectin. Beans are full of powerful lectins that are virtually impossible to neutralize even with proper cooking technique. That’s why we simply don’t eat them at all here.

    There are lectins of some sort or another in most plants, but there are certain families of plants that fit into that category of things that seem harmless so we eat a ton of them even though we shouldn’t. Potatoes would be on the do-not-eat list on carbohydrate basis alone, but others like squash, zucchini, cucumber and eggplant are all full of lectins that can trigger strong responses. My husband isn’t prone to any sort of allergies, but if he even picks around a salad that has cucumbers tossed into it, he’s stomach makes him miserable for hours afterwards.

    Learn what vegetables you’re sensitive to, and what vegetables might be good candidates to consider eliminating. If you’re one of those people who thought that green leafy stuff in general just didn’t sit well with you, you might be selective about what you’re putting on your salad until you identify specific culprits. And you may find you can still enjoy those ingredients if you prepare them differently, for example most of the lectins in tomatoes are in the skin and the seeds, so they can be seeded, blanched and peeled to remove them.

    For fruits, be aware that many store-bought fruits are chemically ripened with ethylene, leaving most of the lectin content in the fruit’s skin. Because that fruit is shipped while it’s still firm, what you get at the store looks a lot better than what you’d have gotten had they picked it ripe off the tree and shipped it, but it’s not the same as having been ripened on the plant. Try to buy locally grown fruit, in season from organic farmers. The taste will amaze you even if you don’t get to enjoy some of these treats year-round.

    Know your body, but also research what foods are good and at what times of year. You’ll probably find several that might have been bothering you in subtle ways that you didn’t fully understand.

    Healthy Whole Grain Goodness is a Horrible Lie

    Finally, I want to touch on one more big myth that has been literally forced down our throat for so many years that many of you will think I’m a crazy conspiracy theorist.

    We know that eating refined carbohydrates are bad from a hormonal perspective, and you can trace much of the rise in diabetes and obesity not just to consumption of sugar but also white flour. Flour is a grain product, so essentially it is the seed portion of the wheat. These tiny wheat berries are packed with all of the essential needs that a baby wheat stalk needs to spout and grow where ever it may fall.Wheat lectin hazard

    Nature did not leave these little nuggets of vital energy unprotected, however. The outer casing of a wheat grain is designed to deter insects or omnivores and contains powerful lectins to do exactly that.

    Wheat has an interesting history. Humans actually haven’t been eating grains for a very long period of time. Agriculture is something that’s been going on for only a few thousand years, and prior to that we existed by hunting and gathering, eating whatever food we could catch along with what wound up naturally in season. Your body is not designed to eat grains, much less industrial grains, much less industrial grains in the quantities we consume today. The advent of agriculture allowed us to grow mass quantities of calories that could be harvested and stored for long periods and is in many respects the enabler of modern civilization. Unfortunately, it also enabled a modern epidemic of metabolic disorders.

    If you still have reason to doubt my thoughts on wheat and grains in general, consider also the history of white bread. In the not too distant past, it was only the wealthy that could afford white flour that had the lectin rich bran and germ removed, and they were roundly ridiculed as having insensitive stomachs that couldn’t handle “peasant” bread made from whole wheat. Beyond that, this white flour bread was typically made using yeasts that fermented for a day or more, another learned social process that deactivated the lectins in the bread flour.

    Today, most whole wheat bread not only still contains its full dose of lectins, but instead of being leavened with yeast, chemical rising agents are used to produce bread faster without the delays of resting, rising and fermenting. This leaves the full dose of lectins intact for the consumer. Couple that with the rising use of industrial pesticides and farm soils depleted of minerals that traditionally added a lot of nutritional value to these foods and you can start to appreciate why whole wheat bread is actually a chemical neutron bomb that has no business in your diet.

    Obviously, the most well-known lectin in wheat is gluten. It’s that magic ingredient that does so much for us in baking and is one of the reasons so many amazing things can be made out of little else but wheat flour. But it’s also the key ingredient in celiac allergies, leaky gut syndrome and potentially a host of auto-immune problems. Nobody is immune to this, it’s not a genetic yes/no situation, it’s just a question of how much of it an individual body can sustain and for how long. If you wonder about the rise of gluten allergies and celiac disease, you might consider its timing in the context of the rise of “whole wheat” as a health food and the decline of yeast as rising and fermenting agent.

    Our politics, our economy and our foreign policy are tied very much to wheat and other industrial grains. They are fed to us, they are fed to the animals we eat, and they are exported to other countries. The amount of money that is spent producing these commodity products is astronomical, and the amount of money spent lobbying the government and the FDA to ensure that these products remain major parts of food pyramids and school lunches is scary.

    Many people worry about sugar consumption, but over consumption of grains (even “whole” grains) are every bit as culpable in the rise of metabolic disease.

    As I mentioned above, many foods marketed as “high fiber” are derived from wheat bran. Switching to a ketogenic diet may tempt you into loading up with high fiber foods to replace those missing carbohydrates. Don’t be fooled. Get your fiber from fresh vegetables and skip the lectins. If you are hungry, eat healthy fats, including meats, eggs and dairy from pastured or grass-fed animals who didn’t grow up eating the same toxins you’re trying to avoid.

    Good Luck on Your Own Keto Journey

    Your thoughts on many of these topics may be different than mine, but I hope by sharing some of the places my own travels have led our family will help yours. There are many ways to get to good health. Learning how your body works and how your hormones interact with both what you eat and when you eat it is one success factor. Not being afraid of fat, and understanding that healthy fat is a necessary nutrient, fits into that knowledge. How other components of your diet help or hinder your progress just makes the journey easier. Educating yourself about the role of electrolytes, especially during keto adaptation, will make getting started easier. Learning what foods might affect you (and why) will let you find the ingredients and dishes that really make your energy level leap and your inflammation vanish. And finally, understanding that certain foods, no matter how well they are marketed or promoted, may not be healthy choices, will leave you in much better health.

    I know this has been a long post, but I hope it’s been useful and thought provoking. If you have your own thoughts and questions, leave them in the comments below or join me on the KetoPig FaceBook group and follow me on Instagram!