I lost my mom in 2017. She was a brave woman that battled all kinds of health demons over her 75 years. The biggest demon was named “Diabetes”. When my mom was diagnosed as diabetic, they didn’t have anywhere near the knowledge of the disease that they do now. There was only one type and only one treatment, insulin. During the course of conversations that I had with my mom, she revealed that while she had been building the first home that she and my dad lived in, she had not needed to take any insulin. Clearly, she was not what we now know as a Type 1 Diabetic, as exercise does not allow for a Type 1 to stop taking insulin. That said, my mother continued on insulin for 40+ years of her life. By the end of her life, she was certainly insulin dependant.
Living through her final months was frustrating (for her, for me, and for the doctors). If anything was to come from it, it was a renewed sense that I wanted to get my own Type 2 diabetes under control. I was using medication, but I would forget to take it and my A1C (3 month blood sugar average) was not where it needed to be. I needed to loose weight and be more healthy (reduce stress, exercise more, sleep more).
I began this journey by joining a diet program that introduced me to the idea of getting my own body to use it’s fat reserves for energy. Fat and Carbs were severely restricted, forcing my liver to metabolize fat to make ketones, which the body (after a period of adjustment) uses for fuel. It worked, after 5 months, I had lost 20 pounds. Not at my goal, but pretty darn close.
Then…I went on vacation. Although I did my best to stay on track, it was very hard and I began eating carbs, drinking alcohol and eating sugar; though I found I could not eat as many carbohydrates as before. I gained 10 pounds back. I refused to let that fact get me down. I had expected some weight gain, I just knew that I had to get back on track with my diet and I could work it off again. I “rebooted” by diet program and continued as before. Problem was that I was missing some foods in my life. Namely, avocado and peanut butter. It became easy to “cheat” a bit here and there, which was basically self-sabotage. There had to be a better way. That is when I researched and found out about the ketogenic diet (high fat, low carbs, moderate protein). I’ve been on it ever since and have lost all of my vacation weight and more.
Back while I was on the more structured diet, I purchased a cookbook by a wonderful woman named Janet Eickhart. She’s just an average mom (ok, maybe not average, but she’s not a superstar chef) looking for ways to feed her family while still remaining on the diet protocol. The cookbook is her way of sharing her experiences and tools with others looking for variety in their food and creative ways to eat within the fairly restrictive protocol of the program.
One of my favourite things from her cookbook is her, somewhat, famous Naked Burrito. It’s basically a mexican inspired crustless quiche at heart, but it is super versatile, malleable and ketogenic. When I am in a pinch, I whip up one of these for dinner. It’s quite filling and pairs perfectly with a salad or steamed vegetables.
You will need ground beef (I use lean, but you can use extra lean or regular depending on how much fat you want/need), homemade taco seasoning (recipe below), a can of green chillies, eggs, hot sauce, grated cheese, a roma tomato, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro and a lime. Sour cream and guacamole are optional.
Prepare Taco Seasoning and preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. This recipe will make a fair bit of seasoning. I keep mine in a small jar with my spices and use it whenever I want to add a bit of kick to my eggs or chicken or pretty much anything. Put the ground beef into a frying pan, add the taco seasoning and cook the meat until browned.
Dig out a 8 or 9 inch square casserole dish (or a glass pie dish or pyrex dish will work, so long as it is oven-proof). Spread the browned meat over the bottom of the dish. Open the can of green chillies and spread evenly over the meat.
Finely grate the cheese and spread over the entire thing.
Crack 4 of the eggs into a medium mixing bowl, add 2 more egg whites. Now you get to be creative with seasoning. I usually add salt, pepper, garlic powder and hot sauce. You can change up the seasoning depending on what you are adding in. If I am adding asparagus, I add some True Lime (crystallized lime juice) or possibly some curry powder. Pour the egg mixture over the meat and cheese, using a fork to ensure that the egg is evenly distributed.
Bake the burrito in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is lightly golden and the centre is just set.
While the burrito is baking, it’s time to make the salsa. You can always use store bought salsa, but nothing tastes as good as freshly made. Plus, by making it yourself, you can control the ingredients, instead of filling yourself with all the added goodies that get put in pre-made stuff.
Chop the tomatoes, red onion, peppers and cilantro, put in a mixing bowl. Add a bit of salt and pepper and squeeze in the juice from a lime (about 2-3T). Mix well. Congratulations, you’ve just made pico de gallo.
Divide the burrito into four, top with one quarter of the salsa and a dollop of sour cream or a quarter of an avocado.
The burrito saves well in an airtight container for leftovers the next day.
The beauty of this dish is that you can customize as desired, which of course, will change the nutritional information. I’ve used ground chicken, added cook mushrooms, asparagus, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheeses. The sky is really the limit.
If you want a copy of Janeva’s Cookbook for yourself, you will find it on her website, here. It is most useful if you are following the Ideal Protein Diet (as many of the recipes require the Diet’s special foods) but it does have some really great ideas and they are all really low carb.
Janeva's Taco Seasoning
Versatile taco seasoning without all the salt.
- 1.5 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1.5 tbsp paprika
- 1.5 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- .5 tsp cayenne pepper optional
Mix all ingredients together, store in a resealable jar.
Nutritional Information (as per MyFitnessPal App): Calories: 32, Carbs (net): 3.2g, Protein: 0, Fat: 0.8g
Janeva's Naked Burrito (adapted)
Yummy, quick and low carb way to whip together a delicious dinner...and have leftovers for lunch the next day.
- 1 Tbsp Janeva's Taco Seasoning
- 300 grams lean ground beef
- 1 can Diced Green Chillies (114ml)
- 4 eggs jumbo
- 2 egg whites jumbo
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 60 grams Swiss cheese shredded
- salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix beef and taco seasoning together and brown in a frying pan.
Cover the bottom of a 8" square casserole dish with the browned meat. Top with the chillies and cheese.
Whisk together the eggs and egg whites, season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Pour over the meat mixture, ensuring even coverage.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the centre is set and the cheese is golden brown.
While baking, prepare salsa and other toppings.
Divide into four servings, top with salsa, sour cream or avocado. Enjoy.
Nutritional information (as per MyFitnessPal app): Net Carbs: 3.3g, Protein: 33.8g, Fat: 26.23g
Jen's Chunky Salsa
A fresh and low calorie salsa. Good with pretty much anything.
- 100 gr roma tomato
- 45 gr red onion
- 100 gr bell pepper (red or orange)
- 1.5 Tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1 lime
Dice all ingredients, mix in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, squeeze in the juice of the lime.
Nutritional Information (as per MyFitnessPal App): Carb: 3.8g, Fat: 0.2g, Protein: 0.7g