Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Meal Prep Ninja Breakfast Cookies

Keto Convenience Foods

If you read any of those “10 Reasons Keto is the Worst” articles out there, the common anti-keto argument you’ll see is that it’s too hard. The premise: keto must be unsustainable because eating meat, eggs, avocados, veggies, nuts, coconut, etc. is just too arduous long term. I’m sure you can guess how I feel about that.

Nonetheless, when you switch from a SAD diet to Primal or Primal-keto it genuinely becomes harder to grab convenience foods. It’s not that you can’t. The selection of packaged foods being marketed to keto folks has exploded in the past year or so. Rather, your growing awareness of ingredient quality, coupled with a desire to control your food and nutrition, makes it feel harder… and probably less desirable.

For that reason, many people end up doing more cooking at home, which means more time devoted to grocery shopping and meal prep. This is good news. But once in a while, especially during busy weeks, it’s nice to give yourself a break and grab something easy. Plus, sometimes you find yourself stuck somewhere without a lot of food options. And then there’s the craving for foods you once loved and wish you could find keto-friendly versions of….

So, while I think that preparing your own food is a great ideal, I also want to cover keto where keto dieters actually live—in the (generally speaking) non-ideal world. I’ve always said, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” How can we apply that to keto convenience food? 

My readers know I’ve always advocated for the 80/20 principle: aim for 100% compliance, but give yourself the freedom to respond to your circumstances and (occasionally) your desire for wisely-chosen indulgences. Primal and keto eating have to be enjoyable to be truly sustainable. If this means you sometimes incorporate convenience foods, so be it.

Convenient “Whole Foods”

Pre-made frozen hamburger patties and pre-cooked chicken skewers were in heavy rotation when my kids were deep in the school-sports-homework-friends circus. Rotisserie chickens are usually not the “cleanest” (look for “naked” organic options if you can), but they aren’t the worst thing in the store by far.

Bone broth is easy and economical to make, especially if you have a slow cooker or pressure cooker, but there are several companies now offering high-quality bone broth that I enjoy sipping on throughout the day.

While fresh is best when it comes to vegetables, I haven’t riced a head of raw cauliflower in ages now that frozen organic cauliflower rice is available in every market we frequent. Frozen veggies retain most of their nutrients. Pre-cut vegetable noodles are an easy time-saver.

With all these foods, you’ll definitely pay a premium over doing the work yourself. However, if you can afford them, and it buys you some time in your busy schedule, don’t let concerns over small nutritional trade-offs get in the way. Grab that rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad, or pre-made zucchini noodles and a jar of (extra virgin olive oil) pesto guilt-free.

Convenient “Packaged Foods”

Basically I’m talking here about eating food with labels, foods specifically meant to make your life easier or to quell a craving for a SAD food.

Spoiler alert: I’m not going to give you a straight up NO to any of these. If you want to eat them, ingredients should be your primary consideration. There are plenty of foods being marketed as keto and low-carb that are not at all Primally aligned. Carb count doesn’t matter to me—if a product contains hydrolyzed wheat gluten and canola oil, I’m out. Yes, some of these you can make yourself—and I’ll provide some recipes for alternative options within each category even though I know this misses the point of convenience foods.

Breakfast Foods

Breakfast is such a sticking point for people when they go Primal or keto. It’s the area in which folks seem to feel the most “deprived.” One of the most common questions we get in our Facebook groups is, “What do I eat for breakfast if I’m sick of eggs?” It’s no surprise then that you can now buy keto pancake and waffle mix, and grain-free “oatmeal” and granola. There are even keto cereals creating quite a buzz in the marketplace. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with these products occasionally. While you can find a thousand ways to do keto-friendly breakfasts that offer more nutrition, I know Americans have a particularly nostalgic attachment to our conventional breakfast foods. If eating keto cereal once in a while is the thing that makes the rest of your diet smooth sailing, go for it.

Easy homemade option: Chia Flax Hot Pudding (or anything on this list or this one).

Bars

I’m not a neutral bystander here—Primal Kitchen makes a keto-friendly protein bar. Primal Kitchen or not, however, I’m not opposed to bars as a snack, as a quick pre- or post-workout bite, or as a lunchbox treat. Personally, I like to take a bar during a long paddle or bike ride. This is a category, though, where you really want to check labels. A lot of manufacturers fill their bars with fiber (to drive down the net carbs) and sweeteners, which some folks are sensitive to. 

Make-it-yourself alternative: Vanilla Coconut Collagen Bites

Meal Replacement Shakes and Powders

Again, I have skin in the game here, since Primal Fuel was one of my flagship products. I still love and use it regularly, so obviously I have no problem with whey protein shakes. At the same time, I’d offer this caution: if you’re consuming a protein shake most days but otherwise aren’t eating a variety of complete proteins—ideally animal based—you should aim to diversify your protein sources.

You’ll find a variety of keto shakes on the market being sold as complete meal replacements. I have to admit I’m leery of these, perhaps because they harken back to traditional diet shakes promising quick weight loss, nutrition be damned. A popular diet brand that shall remain nameless—you know the one—is even marketing keto shakes now.

Since whey protein powder is already so convenient, I’d suggest whipping up a quick smoothie with veggies and a few high-antioxidant berries, plus some MCT oil if that’s your thing. However, if you can find a meal replacement shake with ingredients that pass your personal bar, I’m not going to tell you no. Just use them sparingly, not to regularly replace meals of whole foods.

My favorite basic smoothie: Keto-Friendly Chocolate Protein Smoothie (I usually add a big handful of baby spinach too!)

Snack Foods

If a plate of cheese and crackers is what you crave the most, a couple brands make seed-based crackers that are actually pretty tasty. On the other hand, you can just get crackers made of dehydrated cheese and double down. Every year at the various conferences I attend there are more and more chip substitutes made with unconventional ingredients like chicken. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to make popcorn keto (sorry), and I’ve yet to see a good keto pretzel, although I’m sure someone’s working feverishly on it.

My sense is that when people want snack foods, it’s really the crunchy texture and salty taste, and the easy, even mindless, quality that they crave. Unlike the breakfast foods, it’s not so much an emotional or nostalgic attachment to specific foods. For those reasons, I think this is one category where it’s usually just as easy and satisfying to find different snack options altogether rather than seeking out keto-fied versions of the old SAD foods.

Try this instead: Bacon Guacamole with Cheddar Chips

Keep It In Perspective

At the end of the day, it’s all about choices. We live in a food environment where temptation is everywhere. Our lives are too often over-busy and over-stressed, and sometimes reaching for a convenience food option is something we depend on. 

Let me be very clear: I’m not suggesting that these are on par nutritionally with whole, “real” foods, nor do I think they should be staples in your diet. Of course, it’s best to treat these foods like occasional treats or fallback rations. If being able to grab convenience foods here and there makes keto living possible for you, then go for it. Just be intentional about it, and don’t let it become a slippery slope. As you become more accustomed to keto, you might find yourself reaching for them less frequently.

What say you? Which keto convenience items, if any, do you enjoy? Have your choices changed over time? Thanks for reading.

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Join Us For the FREE June Keto Reset! (Plus, Take Advantage Of An Incredible Deal!)

Have you been thinking about going keto—or recommitting to a keto routine? Are you looking to lose extra pounds? Enhance your fat-burning ability and metabolic flexibility? Improve your energy levels and general well-being to kick off summer?

Then you’ll want to join us for the June Keto Reset. It’s one month of personal guidance, exclusive resources, and fantastic giveaways. Best of all, it’s totally free. All you do is sign up.

I wrote The Keto Reset Diet to help people reach the pinnacle of metabolic flexibility, where they can harness the power of fat and ketones for energy (along with glucose as needed, of course). It’s another level of metabolic flexibility even beyond the scope of the Primal Blueprint fat burning. I strongly believe that it’s in most people’s best interest to periodically dip into ketosis and do a Keto Reset at least once or twice per year. Of course, as so many of you have learned, it’s possible to achieve tremendous gains to health, body composition, fitness, cognition, and general wellness by following a traditional Primal eating pattern (which puts most people in the range of 50 to 150 grams per day of carbs, give or take). Nevertheless, research and anecdotal evidence continues to shed light on the unique benefits that come from being in a state of ketosis at least some of the time.

My team and I put together this June Keto Reset to offer clear guidance and helpful resources as you go keto, so you’ll begin summer set up for total success….

What You’ll Get

Throughout the month of June you’ll receive two emails a week from yours truly with exclusive guidance, tips, and recipes for going keto the right way. You’ll learn how to optimize fat burning and get the results you’ve always wanted. Heads up: You won’t find these resources on the blog. (And for those of you who did the January Keto Reset Kickoff, the June experience is completely new—from top to bottom, so join us again!)

But that isn’t all. I’ll also send you other food lists, recipes, a Keto Reset Journal and Keto Reset Guide To Calculating Your Macros (a printable guide that you can hang on your refrigerator). You’ll have everything you need for a successful Keto Reset.

Plus, the whole month of June I’ll be running prize giveaways on our social channels and bringing you new Primal- and keto-friendly recipes from Mark’s Daily Apple, Primal Kitchen, and select partners. Finally, I’ll be giving away one GRAND PRIZE (look for the announcement soon!) to one lucky person who signs up for the June Keto Reset.

Simply sign up now at www.primalkitchen.com/pages/keto-reset. Enter your email to register. (You don’t need to purchase anything to participate.)

But don’t delay! Registration closes May 31, 2019, at midnight PDT. 

Now For the Deal…

But wait, there’s more! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) I’m giving everyone who enrolls a chance to get the Keto Reset Online Mastery Course for FREE (that’s a $147 value) with the purchase of a Primal Kitchen Advanced Keto Kit. You get my absolute favorite keto-friendly products, plus the most comprehensive multimedia educational experience around, designed for anyone interested in the ketogenic diet. It’s an unbelievable deal. If you missed the chance to grab your free course in January, here’s your shot. 

Note: You don’t need to purchase anything to participate in the FREE June Keto Reset experience. You can sign up for the Keto Reset Month without taking advantage of the Mastery Course deal.

If you participated in the January Keto Reset Kickoff and took advantage of the Mastery Course offer then, we hope you still join us for the entirely new Keto Reset experience. You’ll find new resources and supports to enhance your keto transition. Plus, through the end of the sign-up period (5/31/19 midnight PDT), you can grab a free box of keto-friendly Coconut Lime Protein Bars free with any $30 purchase on Primal Kitchen.com (a $32.95 value!). Click here to take advantage of that offer or use code FREECLBARS at checkout.

Thanks for being here today, everybody. I hope you join us for the June Keto Reset. I’ve got another post coming up this morning, so stay tuned.

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My Writing Desk

This sweet little secretary desk once belonged to my grandparents, as did the chair that I had recovered back in 2009. My mom says it’s over 100 years old, and it has followed me from house to house. (See it in my closet room here!) For a while it has housed things like extra jewelry and accessories.

Today it stores my Beautycounter samples (who wants one!?) and some of my travel-related accessories and nail polish in the drawers.

What I recently realized is that it makes an awesome DESK! Imagine that. Sometimes when my babysitter is here I escape away to concentrate on work but the downstairs office desk is too cold this time of year. Upstairs is always warm, and it’s super cozy up here too! Secretary desks are the perfect answer to the question “how do you have a nice looking desk in a room that is not an office.” Laptops make that so easy.

Another thing that I’ve realized is that it’s actually really nice to have carpet when you have a baby. I never want to put Birch down on the floor downstairs because the wood is hard and two of the three of our rugs are scratchy seagrass. We’re in the process of moving our wooden coffee table out and a soft ottoman in so 1) Birch has more floor space on the one soft rug and 2) He won’t hit his head on it when he starts crawling and walking eventually. But when we’re upstairs I just put him in the middle of the room with some toys while I get ready and he’s happy!

While I shower, I do want to be able to see him and him see me, so I bring the Lotus crib into the bathroom doorway. This is just another reason I love how lightweight it is! I think once B is sleeping in his big crib downstairs I will still keep the Lotus crib set up as a playpen. Also: clear shower this time around is SUCH a game changer. I remember when I had a tub-shower combo with Mazen having to flip up the curtain every time so he could see me.

He’s learning how to sit up day by day and getting so much better at it! He still peels over face first though, so we only sit him up when he’s surrounded by pillows or we’re spotting him.

Look at this little outfit from Mini Boden!

It was great until it got covered in bananas! I just bought this Boon Pulp Feeder off Amazon and Birch took to it right away! I put a ripe piece of banana in there and he snatched it up like a toy and immediately began sucking on it. The banana gets mushed out of those little holes. It created quite the mess, but it was super fun for him and convenient for me that he could feed himself.

We also just got a Lobster high chair for travel and I can’t wait to use it!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed this kale salad with chicken, pepperjack, avocado, and poppyseed dressing! Chips on the side.

But the shirt had to come off and immediately go in the wash. The second time silly boy was topless this day because of a massive blow out in the AM! We love to walk by this mirror and make faces.

The chicken from my lunch salad came from the Plenty Chicken Picatta with cauliflower mash, the previous night’s dinner.

I hope you guys are having a great week!

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