Hangry.

I’ve been pretty out of sorts lately. Between being irritable about the smallest things, walking into rooms and not remembering why I came in there, putting things away in really weird places (like coffee creamer in the laundry room), and feeling incredibly lethargic, I’m discovering why, as I break through this brain fog. Two words: cheat days. My husband and I have been consuming way too much sugar lately. It should be a no brainer that if I am eating keto, that I should eat keto, right? Here’s the problem: I’m a stress eater.  Life has been incredibly stressful for us lately and it has translated into cheesecake and popcorn and cupcakes and everything delicious. Unless eating copious amounts of bacon relieves your stress levels, you will not find many things that are keto and also stress relieving. It’s not uncommon for people to stress eat, but the problem is that for most of us consuming sugar and being stressed out translates into cortisol being released into our bodies, which causes us to gain weight. It’s a phenomenon that many refer to as being “hangry” – hungry + angry. I’m going to have to find another way to reduce my stress levels.
Instead of being strung along on sugar-laden foods that increase cortisol levels and make you hungry later and also irritable if you do not consume more sugar, causing you to say, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hangry”, why not eat keto? The science of being hangry has actually been covered in a mainstream article by CNN, and states that the best way to get rid of “hangriness” is to get into a state of ketosis. To have ketosis covered in a mainstream article is awesome! View the article here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/health/science-behind-being-hangry/

In my effort to get my body back into ketosis, here is what I ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks today:

Breakfast: Hard Boiled Egg and Cheese MAP_1771I really love this cheese that looks gross but is actually delicious because it is BEER CHEESE! It is flavored with the malt that is used to make beer, and imparts the flavor of beer without the calories from the hops. Carb count for breakfast: 0g, protein: 19g. Win.

Lunch: Chicken Salad on Cheddar Crisps
MAP_1829These cheese crisps are crunchy, salty, and taste even better than store bought ones. MAP_1784MAP_1787First things first: cheese. Cheese will become one of your best friends on the keto diet. Spread a layer of cheese (use any dry cheese) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350.
MAP_1815Cut into cracker shapes and bake for another 10 minutes, until completely crispy and golden. MAP_1821No one will be able to tell the difference between these crackers and the ones you find in the box.
MAP_1792For the chicken salad, I used 1 can of canned chicken, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Super simple but absolutely delicious. Carbs: 1g total, protein: 20g.

Dinner: Pesto Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs
grill3
I purchased pre-made vegetable kebabs at the store that had peppers, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini on them. But if you can’t find prepared ones they are easy to make. I brushed them with olive oil and salt and pepper before grilling them. MAP_2010MAP_2025All of these vegetables register as 0g of carbs and are perfect when grilled. I grilled them for 15 minutes and turned them twice so that all the sides got charred. They take about the same cooking time as the chicken.
MAP_2032For the chicken, all I did was marinate two boneless, skinless chicken breasts in 1 cup of prepared, jarred pesto for one hour. Look for one that has 3g of sugar or less. I grilled it for 15 minutes, with the pesto still on the chicken. The pine nuts in the pesto release their sugar, which helps to caramelize the outside of the chicken.
MAP_2030Rule of thumb for cooking chicken on the grill: only flip once. The chicken will not stick to the grill when it is time to turn it. If you flip it too soon, it will stick and not grill perfectly. In this case, I had my husband flip the chicken after cooking it for seven minutes on the first side. Flip it and close the grill and let it finish cooking through on the other side and it will be perfectly cooked and juicy. Carb count: 5g, protein: 20g. Another win.

Snack#1: Celery with Cream Cheese MAP_1776This is self explanatory, but, I spread 2 tablespoons of cream cheese onto celery. carb count: 1g, protein: 4g. Yum.

Snack#2: Peanut Butter Smoothie
MAP_1831I will again sing the praises of pb2 powder. Amazing amazing amazing. I used 1/4cup in the recipe and blended with almond milk and ice. Perfection. MAP_1834You REAAAALLLLLYYY have to make sure you read the labels on almond milk. Some of them are labeled as “unsweetened” but actually have added sugar. I don’t understand that. But make sure that you find plain almond milk that has 3g per serving of sugar or less and you will be good. I blended the pb2 with 1 cup of almond milk and 1 cup of ice. MAP_1847This smoothie makes the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Even though you won’t need it because you will have so much energy to spare. Carb count: 3g, protein: 10g.

Total carbs/protein for the day: 10g carbs, 73g of protein. Yum.

Texas.

Do you ever go into a store for ten minutes, walking through sunshine, only to leave the store and find it raining sideways? Oh, probably because you don’t live in Texas. When it rains like that (mostly every day this summer), the first thing my mind wants to do is bake cookies.
I have always loved to bake, and finding ways to incorporate baking into Keto Culture is definitely a challenge I am willing to take. How is it possible to make low-carb cookies taste good without imparting fake sugars, such as Aspartame, Stevia, etc., into them?
It has been proven that fake sugars (sugar alcohols) such as these can reverse ketosis in the body. So instead of consuming unncessary carbs through fake sugars (ex: sugar free “skinny” vanilla latte at Starbucks – 24g of sugar alcohols), why not opt for 2g of REAL sugar per cookie? Two sounds a lot better than 24 to me.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies pbcookies1Really simple ingredients: PBfit powder, vanilla extract, an egg, and saltpbcookies2Shameless post: I’m in love with the new kitchen deocor I bought the other day! pbcookies3Once the ingredients are combined, I form 1 tablespoon rounds of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then with a fork I make cross-hatch marks on the top of the cookie and sprinkle them with sea salt. pbcookies4The cookies have a dense peanut butter flavor, and are perfect for a protein-packed cookie during any time of the day. pbcookies5pbcookies6Once baked,these cookies have the consistency of flaky shortbread. They are not overly sweet and are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon, especially on a rainy day.

Ingredients
1 cup PB fit powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (more if the dough does needs more moisture)
1 teaspoon salt + extra salt for sprinkling on cookies
1 egg

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine egg, PBfit powder, salt, and vanilla extract
3. Mix until thoroughly combined
4. Form 1 inch dough balls on a lined cookie sheet
5. Use a fork to make cross-hatch marks on top of cookie
6. Sprinkle with additional sea salt
7. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and firm on top