Since starting the ketogenic diet I’ve been meal prepping my socks off. The bonus is that all my years of bartending and mixology have translated into me being a pretty decent cook (I understand taste profiles, I know how to read recipes and improvise to suit). I went from someone who cooked occasionally to someone who cooks three-course meals and bakes bi-weekly. I have also been meal prepping for my mom and dad in an effort to get them healthier and off their medications. (Happy to report that my mom recently got off her Diabetes medication after just about 2 months on a low carb – high-fat diet! :))
Food has been such a powerful tool- not only for me to feel better, more energized, and less anxious- but also for me to be able to connect with and serve my parents. That has truly been the most rewarding part of this journey, the ability to give back to the two people who have sacrificed so much to provide a great life for me.
I enjoy cooking delicious meals for them as a way to coax them into eating healthier, and I am happy to report it’s working! Even my brother who is already in great physical shape has been cutting carbs, eating more greens and fasting once a week. He too has been seeing and feeling changes in his body in a way he never thought possible.
More than meat and cheese, please!
I’ve been cruising around a lot of chat rooms and online support groups, in an effort to learn more about others on the keto journey and have noticed that a lot of people who are using the ketogenic diet to lose weight are neglecting to get their greens in. Many people on the keto diet find it easy to stick to meat and cheese; and I realize that its hard to rewire our brains to understand that there is more to eating beyond- meat, cheese, bread, and sugar, especially since we have been programmed to eat carb heavy for so long. However, like with any specific way of eating, whether it is ketogenic or vegan I think we need to make a concerted effort to balance our macronutrients in order to reap the full health benefits of a healthy, mindful diet.
Lover of all greens
I was vegetarian for about two years before turning back to fish and eventually meat on the ketogenic diet. Personally, at the beginning I ran into the same wall that many do- I felt trapped by my limited options- so I added fish back into my diet. After some more research and soul searching I decided to add meat back in and while I do not regret my decision I still love my veggies dearly! They are so good for the body and make me feel so happy and healthy when I eat them. The more greens on my plate the bigger my smile. I love Dr. Peter Attia’s anecdote about eating a nightly salad in a bowl as big as his head. That’s me! Giant head sized bowl of salad nightly.
Meal prep nightmares
That being said meal prep for three people (my parents, and I) for a whole week can be an exhaustive process- especially since I like to get creative with my entrees and my mom’s kitchen is tiny and full of pots and pans. I don’t like to eat bland food- and I want to show them as well as myself, just how many tasty options are available on the ketogenic diet- but I also border on nervous breakdowns because meal prepping in my mom’s kitchen is a lot of work in a crowded space.
Personally, I started eliminating lunch meals when I am at the office because I found it much easier to work through the day, subsisting on ketogenic snacks and then having a big meal for dinner. Eventually, this transitioned into making smoothies for work.
Ketogenic Green Smoothie Dreams
Green keto smoothies have been my lifesaver! Not only do they cut meal prep in half but they are so much easier and portable when I am on the go. Also, I get to add fun things like probiotics, and swiss chard. I have so much energy throughout the day- I am hooked!
Here is one of my favorite go-to nutrient-packed recipes:
Gaden Power Smoothie Recipe
1 cup Tumeric Almond Milk
- 1/2 scoop fermented vegan protein powder
- 1/2 avocado
- 1.5 cups Swiss Chard
- 1 tbsp MCT oil
- 1/4 Moringa Leaf Powder
- 2 tsp Swerve Erithyol Sweetener
- 2 tbsp. flax seeds
- 1 Probiotic capsule
- Add water to taste and desired consistency and blend
I am a big proponent of only eating things that benefit me- so every ingredient in my smoothies is intentional and purpose driven. I jam a lot of goodies into my smoothies so I don’t have to worry that my limited amount of meals will deplete me of essential nutrients and feel good greens.
- Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
- Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process by improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels
- There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and be effective as an antidepressant
Fermented Protein Powder
- Not only does this fermentation preserve foods, but it also introduces beneficial bacteria called probiotics into the foods. Probiotics are living organisms that help keep your gut healthy and balanced. They have been shown to help with a number of health concerns, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Diarrhea from bacteria, parasites, or antibiotics
- Urinary and vaginal issues
- Avocadoes are definitely a crowd favorite and with good reason- they are a superfood jam-packed with nutrients including:
- Monosaturated fat aka good fat which help the heart and brain
- Carotenoids which help with lowering inflammation, promoting healthy growth and development, and boosting immunity, among others
- Vitamin A, E, K, B, and C
- Loads of Fiber and trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and copper
- Antioxidant phytochemicals- which prevent oxidative damage at a cellular level
- I recently discovered Swiss Chard and I can’t get enough of this unsung leafy, vitamin-packed, green heroine:
- Excellent Source of Vitamin K, A, C, E, Riboflavin, and B6
- Rich in Dietary Fiber
- Increases blood circulation
- Helps prevent cancer due to its ability to neutralize free radicals
- Bone Health thanks to Vitamins K and Magnesium
- Brain Health- thanks again to its Vitamin K which is instrumental in develop of the myelin sheath or ‘gray matter’ that protect the brain
- Eye Health thanks to beta-carotene
- Regulates blood sugar because of its syringic acid property. This compound prevents the activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase, and as a result less carbs are broken down into sugar-which provides for blood sugar stability.
- MCT oil, short for medium chain triglycerides, is a dietary supplement made up of MCT fats, which are fats that can be found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products.
- Better brain and memory function
- Energy boost and endurance
- Weight loss and improvement in weight management
- Lowered Cholesterol
- Lowered Blood Sugar Levels
- Moringa Leaf comes from a large tree native to India known as the Moringa Olifera and has been praised as for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years.
- Nutrient-dense providing an excellent source of protein, B6, Vitamin C, Iron, Riboflavin, Vitamin A, and Magnesium
- Rich in Antioxidants like Quercetin which can lower blood sugar and Chlorogenic acid, which may help, regulate blood sugar after meals.
- Flax seeds were cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Turns out the King might have known a thing or two about a thing or two.
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
- Lignans, which have both, plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
- Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
- Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. More and more studies are showing that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in your digestive system is directly linked to overall health, mood, and disease.
- Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria linked to a wide range of health benefits.
- Probiotic supplements have been shown to boost mood, promote weight loss, digestive health, and immune function.
Hope you get inspired to try your own keto-fied green smoothie.
Happy Blending! 🙂