Renee and Todd’s ketogenic adventure

Meet my good friends Renee and Todd:

How cute are they?

Like most couples who work (Todd’s an engineer. Renee works evenings as a pediatric nurse) and being parents to a toddler, they must strike a balance between work and family life without neglecting their health.  That takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Renee’s tried other diets with a degree of success.  However keeping the weight off proved more challenging since she had her child.  So Todd and Renee did their own research and decided to give ketogenic eating a try.

For Renee, just trying ketogenic eating has proven difficult.  She, like millions of us, grew up being told eating fatty food will lead to heart disease and other health problems.  It seems to make sense that cutting out fat would help shed the fat from our bodies.  Only it’s been several decades of fat-free diets… well if you’ve tried them and you’re reading this now, you know effective those diets have been.

Now the medical community is starting to change its tune.  They’ve used ketogenic to treat epilepsy.  Now, just think of this: when you eat fatty, satiating foods, how quickly do you become hungry again?  When you eat less overall, wouldn’t you lose weight?

So here’s a simple meal suggestion I came up for Renee and Todd.  It’s not very stringent and asks them both to be a bit creative.


My friend Renee’s a coffee drinker who prefers to mask the bitter notes in coffee with cream and sugar.  Instead of sugar, she will try honey, 1/4 teaspoon at a time.  She will also add heavy cream to her coffee to help her feel fuller, faster.  She  will also try bulletproof coffee.

For Todd’s morning, if he has time, here are two shakes he can try as a healthy and delicious breakfast:

1.) Recipe for Coffee/Chocolate shake: 

20 oz cold coffee
1 cup walnuts (lots of good fats & vitamins in this)
Unsweetened cocoa, as much as you’d prefer
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (keep this less than 25g.)
1-3 Tbsp MCT Oil (start @ 1, work your way up)
2 oz Cacao Nibs(lots of good fats & vitamins in this)
2 large coffee ice cubes (I tend to freeze home brewed coffee in ice trays so as not to dilute cold coffee drinks)

Blend well in a regular blender.  If the shake is too thin, add 1/4 of a frozen banana but there’s sugar in bananas so take care not to use too much.

2.) Recipe for Berry/Vanilla shake: 

8oz (1 cup) Heavy Whipping Cream (replace some or all with milk if you prefer)
1 cup walnuts (lots of good fats & vitamins in this)
1 Big Scoop Vanilla Protein (keep this less than 25g)
1 cup frozen berries (try mixed blueberries, or even peaches, but be mindful of their sugar content)
1-3 Tbsp MCT Oil (start @ 1, work your way up)

Blend well. Again, add 1/4 of a frozen banana to thicken the shake.


What happens when Renee craves something between meals?  Her work as a nurse means her schedule is hectic, and she’ll eat when she can.  One solution I recommend for her is the phat fudge.  I showed her the whole process from making the almond butter to pouring the finished concoction into ice trays.  It took 30 minutes.

Ingredients for phat fudge!

Lunch and Dinner

Since Renee and Todd are so busy, they’re looking for meals that may be a bit easier.  Most people don’t have the time nor the energy to craft a different gourmet meal each night.  A crockpot is a wonderful tool for making multiple, realistic meals:

Suggestion 1:  Aside from duck, lamb, rib-eye steaks and pork belly, there are other cuts of meat that are fatty and work very well in a slow cooker.  Get a cut of beef or pork that has nice veins of white, and plenty of gristle, like pork shoulders or beef chuck.  These “cheaper” cuts tend to cook better in the slow cooker.  Ketogenic eating, this is an easy is all about consuming more fat.

Marinate the meat in salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar.  Keep the marinated meat in the fridge for up to 8 hours.  Then heat a frying pan with a little bit of oil.  Sear the meat on the stove top on all sides will the outside is golden brown.  Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.  Without washing out the pan, toss in diced carrots, celery and onions and saute that in the same pan until the onions start to grow soft.  Then transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.  If there’s a bit of marinade juice leftover, pour that over the meat.  Let the meat cook for 24- 48 hours.

Remove the meat and separate that into as many meals as you like.  Freeze some if not using all within that week.  Add a salad to the meal with a simple oil and vinegar dressing, or lightly sauteed vegetables.

Suggestion 2: When there’s a lot of leftover meats in the fridge, the easiest way to create a fresh dish without growing tired of the same old thing is to make a stir fry.  The Chinese stir-fry method is very misunderstood.  It can be made with any combination of meats and veggies and it doesn’t require soy sauce.  I almost never use soy sauce when I stir-fry.

Start off by adding 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (I use olive oil) in a frying pan and let it heat up.  Dice up up some onions and garlic and toss into the pan.  For added flavor add a few slivers of ginger.  (There’s no need to peel ginger.  I only recently read on a cooking site that people peel ginger.  Why?)  Anyway, add these simple ingredients to the heated oil and saute.  After this step, toss in any vegetables you have on hand with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Then add your leftover meat dish.  Wait till the vegetables are cooked to your seared doneness.  Voila!  Stir fry!

Suggestion 3:   A very simple salad of just leafy greens and avocados is a nice side to a fatty main dish.  There’s no need for store bought dressing, with all the preservative they contain.  Just a sprinkling of salt, pepper, a splash of MCT oil and balsamic vinegar.

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can also use any leftover crockpot roast meat to make a heartier salad for lunch or dinner.

With these simple methods, you can create an infinite number of keto-friendly meals.  I recommend starting out gradually.  Do cut out refined sugars, and processed sugar products like ice-cream and cakes.  However, try a less sugary fruit like berries to satisfy those sugar cravings. (1 cup of strawberries contains about 7 grams of sugar.)  Have a glass or two of red wine with dinner.  Just be conscious of what you eat and wean yourself off from sugar and carbohydrates dependency.

I’ll document Todd and Renee’s progress in the coming months.  So check back often to see how the ketogenic eating has been for them.

Good luck guys!


For a few more keto-friendly dinner ideas, click on the following link:

Fresh from the sea

Eat more oxtail

Grandma’s Kou Rou


Phat Fudge!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Peking Duck (Beijing Roast Duck), I am preparing a duck dinner, and I really make it rest in the fridge for five days.

So what am I doing in the meantime?  Well, to help my husband Dave maintain his weight loss, I make Phat Fudge!  This a snack idea Dave came across as he decided to journey into the ketogenic diet.  To satisfy his mid-afternoon munchies, Dave’s relies on a handful of nuts or phat fudge to stave off hunger and give his energy a boost.

The credit for the original idea goes to The Paleo Chef, Mary Shenouda.  I tweaked the recipe to fit Dave’s palate.  This is truly key to Dave’s weight loss.


1 cup Almond butter

1 cup grass fed butter (I recommend Kerrygold unsalted butter)
1/4 cup Raw Cacao Paste

1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp cinnamon (ground is fine)
honey (depending on how sweet you want it, anywhere from 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla (not pictured, but necessary)
*Optional:  Handful of cacao nibs, slices of toasted almonds, walnuts, flax seed or whatever you want to add to your fudge.

  1.  Since I make my own almond butter, I find two cups of raw almonds make slightly more than 1 cup almond butter.  So I use about as much as I believe is a cup, scrapped from the food processor into a sauce pan .  Throw in 8oz  or 1 cup of butter and whisk the two together on low heat until it’s melted and combined.
  2. Add honey, then raw cacao.  Whisk well until cacao paste has completely melted.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Pour the mixture into a silicon ice cube tray.  I usually add some cacao nibs and walnuts to the bottom of the tray before pouring in the hot mixture and then top it with some more nibs and walnuts for a nice crunch.  Pop into the freezer to set.

That’s it!  Enjoy!  #phatfudge  #eatplaycrush

What is Ketogenic? — UPDATE

I was first introduced to the concept of a ketogenic diet when my husband decided to lose weight. He has a bulging disk in his lower spine that was causing him tremendous pain, even numbness in his legs.  Since he was pushing past 220 lbs, it made sense that weight loss would help relieve some of the pressure on his lower back.
As he researched better ways to work out, he happened upon ketogenic eating.  High fat intake.  No carbs, no sugar, and low protein.  I’ve never been a believer of fad diets, but he’s a young man with low cholesterol and low blood pressure.  What did he have to lose?

Dave did his part on working out differently, and improving his posture.  I helped by changing what we ate.  I still ate carbs and desserts, while he abstained from all sugars and carbohydrates.  Each meal had a simple leafy green salad with avocado, along with a fatty meat dish.  He quenched his hunger between meals with nuts and phat fudge.  (More on that later).

After four months, he dropped from 220 lbs to 190.2 lbs.

Granted, we haven’t had his cholesterol checked since he started this diet (September, 2016) but he says he feels more energetic, more alert.

Neither of us are nutritionists or are we biologists.  I have no personal knowledge of this diet working for anyone else, so please don’t this as an endorsement.   This is just our experience and it worked so well we had to share.

On a typical day on this diet, here’s what Dave ate:

Breakfast:  High fat plain Greek yogurt with some blueberries or strawberries.  Coffee with heavy cream.

Lunch:  Avocado and leafy green salad with a balsamic and oil dressing.  A side of fatty meat or fish.

Snack:  If he’s hungry between meals, he’ll have a Phat Fudge, a spoonful of almond butter or a handful of nuts until he feels full.

Dinner:  I think it’s important to note that Dave usually works out in the evenings before having a slightly heavier dinner comprised of the same things as lunch.

What does he do if he can’t eat at home?  Then it’s a meal-sized salad with lots of bacon and avocados and some sort of fish.  Nowadays most restaurants will carry all sort of gluten, carbohydrate, and sugar-free meal options.  You know it’s serious when Denny’s offers Gluten free.

One noticeable difference for him on this high fat diet was his appetite.  He didn’t feel hungry as often between meals, and would often forgo breakfast without adverse effects to his alertness.

September 29th, 2016

**UPDATE **  In recent weeks, Dave decided to ease off on this diet and focus on gaining a bit more muscle.  He started to eat the occasional pizza and fruit.  He found himself feeling hungrier faster between each meal.

For further information on the ketogenic diet, I suggest talking to your doctor and doing your own research.  Take to get started, take a look at this article on keto for epileptics, and what the Mayo Clinic has to say.  Good luck!