LCHF or Keto Diet - What it is and Who it's for

You've probably been hearing a lot about the Keto diet lately.  Many doctors are now recommending it, not just for weight loss but also to improve health generally and even as an anti-aging diet.

So what exactly is it?

The Keto diet is short for ketogenic diet, and is so named because when you eat this way your body runs on ketones rather than sugar.  This is also known as the low carb high fat way of eating, or LCHF - more on this later.

Since this is a Paleo Primal blog, what I want to do today is explain the basic differences between a Keto and a Paleo diet so you can decide if it's for you.  A Keto diet can also be a Paleo diet, but not all Paleo diet forms are necessarily Keto.

The main difference is the percentages of carbs, fat and protein that you eat every day.  When you eat Paleo you're not really worried about this.  Since you aren't eating grains or sugar, your carb count is already quite low.  The recommended amount is usually between 50 and 100 grams. 

But if you want to have your body create ketones, you need to make it even lower.  A carb count of 5% to 10% of calories is usually recommended.  

You also want to make sure you're not eating too much protein.  Latest findings are showing that excess protein, just as excess sugar, can be turned into fat, so if you're looking to lose weight you want to watch your protein intake.  In a Keto diet, 15% to 30% calories from fat is the usually recommended amount.

This leaves a lot of room for fat in your diet, and fat is the majority of what you want to be eating - 60 % to 75% or even higher.  This will ensure your body is running on ketones, not sugar.

Here are some specific guidelines for weightloss on the Keto LCHF diet :
  • Same as recommended for the Paleo diet, eat Real Food.  Stay away from processed food, and don't fall for any of the fake low carb products that are out there.
  • Keep your total net carbs ( total carbs minus fibre grams ) to less than 50 grams. 20 to 30 grams is a good range to aim for.
  • Limit your fruits to coconut, avocado and an occasional small serving of berries.
  • Forget about 3 meals a day.  Only eat when you are hungry, even if that's only once a day.  Eating more fat will keep you fuller longer - and that's a good thing!
  • Don't worry about counting calories.  Eating this way will make you naturally want to eat less.  
  • The only time I would worry about calorie counting is if your weight loss stalls.  Then it's probably a good idea to check your food intake for a couple of days, just to make sure you're keeping the right ratios.
  • It's very important to make sure you drink a lot of water.  Coffee and tea as well as mineral water all count.  Just make sure you drink lots. 
I'm not going to go into the science here.  I don't have the room or, frankly, the expertise.  If you want to know exactly how it works I recommend you read Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore.  I think this is the best and easiest to understand explanation out there. 

You should also check out the Diet Doctor.  This is a great ad-free website run by a Swedish doctor, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, and is a great introduction if you are considering this way of eating.  Dr. Eenfeldt covers not just weight loss but all the health benefits as well, and has many informative guest interviews.  

You can sign up for a free video course that will tell you exactly what LCHF is and how to do it. 

This website has no sponsors, counting on memberships to pay it's expenses.  The cost is ridiculously low ($9 US a month) and you can get a free one month trial.  I decided to become a member because I really believe in this way of eating and want to support Dr. Eenfeldt in spreading the word. As far as I'm concerned, all the information is just a great bonus.

The website again is 

But remember, as always, if you are considering a diet change, you should always check with your own doctor first to make sure it's right for you.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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Keto Paleo Bread with Cheese, Onions and Olives

I've been making bread for years with my basic almond bread recipe, and even though most people like it, some have complained there is too much of an almond taste to it.  I think this is great when you have it with jam or marmalade, but I agree it's not that great in a chicken or ham sandwich.

So I've been playing around with the recipe, and today I want to share a savoury version that I think is my best yet. This has a few extra steps, but I think it's well worth the extra time.

I suggest you make two loaves as I do. It's pretty much the same amount of time to make two as it is one, and when that first loaf is almost gone you'll be glad you did.  This bread also freezes really well and is even better toasted, so having an extra loaf tucked away in your freezer means you probably will only need to bake it once a month or so, even if you like sandwiches for lunch almost every day.

Cheese, Onion and Olive Bread

Keto, Paleo, Low Carb, High Fat

makes 2 loaves with approximately 14 slices in each

Ingredients :
1 large onion, chopped 
12 to 14 black olives, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar ( I prefer old because it has more flavour)

3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika (or cayenne pepper)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped fine (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

1/2 cup olive oil (plus extra for frying onion and greasing pans)
10 large eggs

Directions :
( 1 ) First, place the chopped onion and a little olive oil into a small frying pan and fry until golden.  Set aside to cool. 

( 2 )  Meanwhile start  preheating the oven to 350'F.

( 2 )  Prepare your baking pans.  (I use regular loaf pans.) Grease them well with olive oil, cut a small piece of parchment to fit into the bottom and grease this a well.  (This will help the bread come out easily.)

( 3 )  Mix together the cooked onion, olives and both cheeses in a small bowl.

( 4 )  Place the almond flour, coconut flour, flaxseed, baking powder and spices into a large food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are well combined.

( 5 )  Add the olive oil and eggs.

( 6 )  Pulse again until you have a smooth batter, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides if needed.

( 7 )  Pour this batter into a large mixing bowl.

( 8 )  Add the onion cheese mix on top.

( 9 )  Now gently fold in the onions and cheese with a spatula until they are evenly spread throughout the whole batter.  Fold instead of mix, so you don't deflate the dough.

( 10 )  Pour the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes.

( 11 )  Remove the pans and place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

( 12 )  Then, using an ordinary butter knife, loosen the sides and slide the loaves out of the pans and onto the rack.  Leave to cool completely. 

( 13 )  When the bread has cooled, slice and store in a freezer bag. This should keep for about a week in the fridge and up to 3 months in your freezer.

This makes a delicious loaf of bread that's soft in the inside and crunchy on the outside.  There is so much flavour you can easily eat it just toasted with butter, but it makes a perfect base for any kind of sandwich.  

Try it with a sliced hard boiled egg and some tomato, or loaded with chicken salad.  I like to keep it simple - generously buttered bread and a thick slice of ham. Delicious !

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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An Easy Paleo Dessert - Sugar-free Grain-free Thumbprint Cookies

If you miss having a biscuit or two with your afternoon cup of tea, or would just like a nice light dessert, these delectable thumbprint cookies are just the thing. 

I have recently discovered a great new product that I am totally in love with, and this is one of the recipes I've been testing. 

The product I'm talking about is a mix of organic coconut oil and butter ghee.  It has all the benefits of coconut oil with the creamy buttery taste of grass-fed butter, and is perfect for all kinds of cooking. 

It's available on Amazon (see my links above), or, if you don't want to buy it, you could probably make your own by mixing half ghee and half coconut oil in a food processor.  I haven't tried this myself because it's so easy to just buy this, but I'm sure it would work.

Because coconut oil has a high burn temperature, this product is perfect for sauteing seafood, meat, chicken etc. - any dish where you would like a nice buttery taste.  It's also wonderful with eggs.  

Now I've discovered it's also great in all kinds of baking.  There is a bit of a coconut taste, but especially in desserts I find it only adds to the taste.

These cookies are not only delicious, they are also very quick and easy to make.  All you need are 5 ingredients.  Here's how :

Ingredients :

4 cups of blanched almond flour (the kind with no skins included)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons coconut oil & butter ghee
1/4 cup sweetener ( I use Swerve. You can find the link above. )
1/2 cup no sugar jam (Xyla or Walden Farms are two brands you can try. See links above.)

Directions :

  • Preheat your oven to 350'F.
  • Combine the almond flour and baking powder in a processor and pulse a few times just to make sure they are evenly mixed.
  • Add the coconut oil ghee and your sweetener, and pulse until a dough forms.  This will take a couple of minutes but it WILL turn to dough!
  • Scoop the batter onto a parchment paper lined baking pan.  (To have uniformly sized cookies I use a small 1 tablespoon sized scoop to measure out the dough.)
  • Flatten each cookie, making an indentation in the centre with your thumb.
  • Place a 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each indentation, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes until just starting to brown.
  • Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then careful lift with a spatula and place on a rack to cool completely before serving or storing.

These light buttery cookies are not too sweet and melt in you mouth just the way shortbread does - without all the unnecessary sugar or flour.  If you follow my recipe exactly you should end up with 28 cookies.  Enough to have one a day for a month if you're so inclined.  I think that's pretty good for an hour of work.  

These can be stored in a cookie jar for a few days or frozen for several months.  

Having a container of these babies will guarantee that when a craving for something decadent hits you, you will have a healthy sugar-free and grain-free alternative that you can indulge in - totally guilt-free as well !

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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Low Carb High Fat Keto Blueberry Galette

A galette is a French free-formed pancake type pie.  My version isn't like the classic French version since it contains no grain flour, but it's delicious all the same.  

The classic galette is a savoury pie.  When the French make it with fruit they usually call it a crepe but this isn't what I would consider a crepe at all.  Crepes - to my mind - are very thin and light pancakes.  This is more like a sort of soft cake.

I have made mine with blueberries but it could be made with any type of berry.  Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries - I've tried them all and they are all delicious.

Even though I have lots of recipes for muffins and bread, sometimes I just don't have time for baking. I came up with this on a day when I really wanted something muffin-like with my mid-morning coffee, and my cupboard was bare.

You will also notice that I don't use any sweetener.  I prefer these days to just enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit, but you could always add some of your favourite sweetener if you feel you need it. 

Ingredients :

1 egg
2 tablespoons of cream cheese
1 tablespoon of almond flour
1/4 cup blueberries ( or raspberries, sliced strawberries, etc. )
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of butter ( for cooking )

Directions :
  • Melt butter in a small skillet, on low heat so it doesn't burn.
  • Meanwhile whip the egg in a small bowl until it's frothy, then add the vanilla and whip some more. 
  • Add the almond flour, vanilla and cinnamon and continue whipping.
  • Pour the mixture into your hot skillet .  Pour the blueberries evenly over the top.
  • Cook over low heat until bubbles start to form and the top no longer looks wet.
  • Flip the galette and cook the other side for a minute longer.
  • Slide onto your serving plate and drizzle whatever butter is left in the pan over the top.  If you want to add even more fat, melt a pat of butter over the top.  Yum!

This recipe makes one serving, but you could double or triple the ingredients and make a large galette, then cut it into slices to serve to several people.  

However, even though I'm a BIG fan of cooking ahead, I wouldn't freeze this.  It's okay, and you could do it if you really need to save time, but both the flavour and the texture are much nicer when you eat it freshly made.  And since it only takes minutes to prepare, there is really no good reason to eat it any other way.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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Clafoutis or Flaugnarde - Eating Fruit in Season

Everyone talks about eating fruit in season, but somehow when it comes down to it, we often forget to take advantage of local produce when it's available. Today I'm going to tell you about a delicious way that I do it. Throughout the spring, summer and fall when all the fruit is ripe and abundant in the local markets, I make Clafoutis.

Clafoutis (sometimes spelled Clafouti) is a baked French fruit dessert.  Traditionally black cherries are arranged in a buttered dish, then covered with a thick flan-like batter.  Once baked it's often dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm - with or without a little cream.

The Clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France, and is the kind of dessert you can often enjoy sitting in a sidewalk cafe in a French village after a couple of hours spent shopping in the local outdoor market. 

While it is traditionally made with cherries, you will often find it made with plums, apples, pears and berries.  When it's made with other fruit it's properly called a Flaugnarde.

The traditional French Cafoutis  contains the pits of the cherries which contain amygdalin, the active chemical in almond extract.  During baking a small amount of this chemical is released from the pits into the clafoutis, adding an almond flavour to the dessert.

All of these characteristics makes this a perfect recipe for Primal Paleo.  Instead of regular flour, using a little almond flour gives us the same flavour.  And we can use various fruit as it comes in season.  I start making it in the spring when the first strawberries and rhubarb make their appearance. During the summer it's terrific with blueberries and blackberries, and in the fall plums and peaches give it yet another different taste.  

Here is how to make it.  This recipe will make a generous cake that will serve 8.  You can keep the leftovers (if there are any!) in your fridge for a few days, or freeze individual servings for later use.

Ingredients :

4 large eggs
1/4 cup sweetener (I use Xyla or Erithretol but you could also use honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, melted
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 pound sliced fruit

Directions :
  • Generously butter a 9" tart pan.  I use a special one with a removable bottom, but as long as you butter your pan well you could also use a quiche dish or a regular pie plate.
  • Whisk together the eggs, sweetener, cream, melted butter and vanilla.
  • In a smaller bowl stir together the almond flour, salt and spices.
  • Now sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ones and keep whisking until well combined.
  • Pour over your prepared fruit and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until it is set in the centre and the top is a golden brown.
  • The clafoutis will slice a lot easier if you allow it to cool for about 20 or 30 minutes before serving.

I always use organic fruit so I don't peel it, just give it a good wash.  That way I'm getting all the benefits of the nutrients in the peel as well as in the fruit itself.

Feel free to play around with the amount of fruit you use.  If you want a cake that's mostly fruit you can double the amount called for.  On the other hand, if you are watching your carbs or following a Keto diet, use only half the amount.  This will still give you a taste of fruit but the majority of the cake will be butter, cream and eggs with a little nut flour - a healthy high fat recipe. 

Lastly, here is another tip worth considering. When I'm preparing my fruit, I always make sure I cut up a few extra portions and stash them in freezer bags in my freezer so I can enjoy this treat year round.  You haven't lived until you've had a warm slice of plum Clafoutis with a cup of hot tea in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter's day!

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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Ketogenic Diet Recipe - Mexican Bacon & Egg Nests

If you love Mexican food and are eating a high fat Ketogenic diet, this is the dish for you.  Buttery eggs in fried onion and bacon nests with avocado slices and salsa - what's not to love!

This is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb dish.  You get lots of good fats from the bacon, butter and avocado and more than enough protein from the bacon and egg.  Adding a bit of salsa as well as the onion will give you a few carbs, but this should not be enough to take you out of ketosis.  However if you are on the Ketogenic diet then I'm sure you've figured out just how many carbs you can get away with, so you can easily adjust the recipe according to your own specific needs. 

Ketogenic Diet Recipe - Mexican Bacon & Egg Nests

Ingredients :

2 strips of nitrate-free bacon, chopped
saved bacon fat for frying (or coconut oil)
1 large free-range organic egg
1/2 a large onion, sliced very thin
1/2 a small avocado (or 1/4 of a large one)
salsa to taste

Directions :
  • Heat a little bacon fat or coconut oil in a skillet. (Use a cast iron one if you can.  The flavour is so much better!)
  • Add the sliced onion and chopped bacon and cook over medium heat until the onion is browned and the bacon is crispy.
  • Using the cooked onions and bacon, create a nest with an opening in the middle of the skillet. 

  • Now here is the trick to having a lovely buttery egg.  Melt a tablespoon of butter in the middle of the nest you have created. 

  • Quickly add your egg and turn down the heat to low, allowing the egg to cook until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. (If you prefer your eggs cooked more that's fine too.) The egg white will run into the onion and bacon mixture, creating a sort of pancake which will make it much easier to remove from the pan. 
  • With a spatula pick up the egg nest and place it onto a plate. Add sliced avocado and salsa to taste. Enjoy! 

This recipe makes one serving and it's very flexible.  If you want you can always use a couple of eggs instead of just one.  And the amount of bacon, onion and salsa can also be adjusted to your specific taste.

If you are making this for several people you can double or triple the ingredients very easily.  But when you are cooking you might want to make a few changes.  I would cook all the bacon and onion at once, then divide into individual portions and finish one at a time with the egg.  This will prevent everything from running together and creating a mess.  Or you could use a griddle  which has a larger surface and will allow you to cook a few portions at a time.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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