Okay, so they say the average person gained 28 lbs during the lockdowns. There are plenty of free workout videos and groups, and many states (including mine) have open gyms. I previously did a review of some exercise equipment I obtained to create my own home gym, so now I have decided to discuss the diet I’ve adopted. Keto. Yes, yes, I see your eyes rolling.
Fortunately for you, I’m not a health professional and have no intention of trying to convince you to go on Keto and burn fat instead of carbs (sugars and starches) with the help of ketones, on a 70% fats, 5% carbohydrates, and 25% protein daily diet, (here’s a free keto calculator in case you’re interested: https://www.omnicalculator.com/health/keto#what-is-the-recommended-keto-macros-ratio). But I can give a personal testimony and tell you that many people lose 10 lbs or more, (especially at the beginning if you need to lose more than 20 lbs) a month.
I know a lot of people who stay on Keto all the time, taking a cheat day now and then or even taking the weekends off once they just want to maintain. Keto works for me. Why? Because I can eat bacon and cream cheese frosting made with real cream cheese and heavy whipping cream, any meat and most vegetables. Sure, I miss heavy carbs, like potatoes and corn (starchy!) and carrots and fruit (natural sugar) on a regular basis. I still take an occasional day off to eat what I want so I don’t suffer at all.
Keto is very popular now so most grocery stores and even Walmart carry things like Almond Flour. At Sprouts they have 2 net carb cinnamon raisin and whole grain bread (in the freezer section of the bakery, and I assume Whole Foods carries It too), and cauliflower rice or cauliflower mashed potatoes. They even have cauliflower cheese crackers and everything crackers made with almond flour and low carb protein bars, protein cookies, and protein tortilla chips from Quest. I love the Quest Lime Chili chips and their raspberry white chocolate and birthday cake protein bars. Little tip: I cut them into 10 pieces and freeze them and when I feel a sweet tooth, I grab a couple for a very satisfying high protein treat.
There are lots of things you can make yourself, too. They have keto friendly waffle and pancake mix that’s fast, easy and delicious. I make a waffle once in a while with sugar free syrup. Yummy. A friend got me a little griddle that makes mozzarella cheese and egg ‘pancakes’ that can be used as taco shells (while hot, you lay them on a taco cooker and they form into the shape of tacos) or to make sandwiches. If you have a Ninja or other air fryer (or just a frying pan and oil), you’ve got your fried food and you can use crushed pig skins for breading. Delicious.
It doesn’t really sound like I’m suffering does it? But, the best part is that you actually lose weight quite steadily with this diet. I made a delicious keto cheesecake and pumpkin bread for Christmas, but my favorite (and my non-Keto hubby’s favorite) recipe so far is FRIED ZUCCHINI LASAGNA. Even if/when I am no longer on Keto we will be eating this new family favorite.
I adapted it from a recipe by Christine and Carla Pallotta, sisters from the Nebo Restaurant. It’s an old family recipe, what they call peasant food, and it’s so delicious they beat out Bobby Flay at a throw down using it. Below is the video of their recipe, followed by how I convert it into a keto dish.
The biggest complaint I’ve ever heard about Zucchini Lasagna is that the Zucchini is wet and therefore can be soggy. Not so in this recipe! The zucchini is FRIED (who doesn’t like fried…anything?). You can use a mandolin to thin slice the zucchini lengthwise, but I just cut off the edge, then turn it onto that flattened side and thin slice it. It’s easier for me. You clean it well, of course, so you can leave the skins on. I lay it on paper towel and sprinkle lightly with sea salt to make it sweat and then blot it dry. But I skipped this step once when in a hurry and it was fine. My zucchini is nowhere near as big as theirs so I use 6-8 to make a huge lasagna pan full. They used a much smaller lasagna pan than mine. When I full on cook I like to get a couple meals out of it!
I use Almond Flour instead of all purpose flour, to make this keto friendly. You could also use pig skins for added breading, but I have not found it necessary and it’s just one more step I can skip. So I use the eggs, cheese (parmesan/Romano) and paprika, salt and pepper, and dredge in AF and then deep fry it in a heated peanut combo oil that I used to use in my deep fryer, but you can use whatever oil you prefer. Turn once when golden brown on the bottom. I use a square frying pan and can fit quite a few at a time.
Another Keto-friendly trick I use is low sugar (sugar is a CARB) marinara sauce. Rao’s is good and both Hunts and Prego have a no sugar added variety. To spice up the sauce a bit, I add some browned Italian sausage/ground beef combo (you can skip the meat for a vegetarian version) added to sautéed onion and garlic, then add it all to the sauce. Season to taste, of course.
Being cheap and lazy, I used packaged mozzarella, grated parmesan/Romano and ricotta cheeses and also add cottage if there’s some in the frig. (You know using their recipe cheeses is probably even yummier, but a bit more expensive.)
Layer it according to the recipe, which is the same method as most any lasagna recipe I’ve had. Like all lasagna, it’s even better the next day so make a big batch! People will want seconds! You can also make this ahead and freeze it for an easy company or busy weekend meal. Bon Appetit!