Category Archives for "Nemo’s Kitchen"

Posts about my LCHF way of eating. Including keto and low-histamine recipes as well as updates on how this way of eating is helping my body heal.

Low Histamine Keto Meal Ideas, Week1, Oct 2017

Meal ideas wk1 Oct'17

It's that time of the week again! Time to start thinking about what we will eat in the week ahead. As most people who attempt a change in diet are aware, planning is essential if you want to minimise the chances of falling off the wagon.

In these posts, though, I do not plan ahead, but show you what I've eaten this week in the hope that thy will help you in your planning. These are my favourite meals from the past week, meals I can look back over in the future when I'm short on ideas. I hope they will inspire you too.

I usually plan my meals once the groceries have been done by my parents and I know which foods have been prepared by my mum and frozen for me. I do not cook for myself anymore as I am chronically ill. I create the recipes according to my macro requirements and my sister cooks for me. Mum makes things like meatballs and desserts which can be made in bulk and frozen. 

As the title suggests, these are meal ideas for people who are following the ketogenic way of eating. I eat only once a day most days, so each meal is quite large and usually has vegetables in it, but will always have below 20g of carbs. 

Special occasion

This week was my birthday week, so I had a few naughty treats like a little bit of hummus and some apple. I even had a slice of pizza with some crisps! (a small 1/8 slice of pizza) Oh! I also had a tiny brownie for breakfast. All of that still came to below 55g of carbs, so not bad at all.

It did trigger a slight histamine response, nothing serious, just a bit of light itching, but it did exaggerate my ME/CFS flare, I was flat on my back the whole following day! Ingredients matter, friends! Click here to find out how I'm using the ketogenic diet to reduce my ME/CFS symptoms.

I have had some delicious meals this past week, definitely look forward to trying some of them again.

My Favourite Meals, Week 1, October 2017

This week I have tried to add more detail to the meal ideas: ingredients and macro calculations. Let me know if this is useful or not. I feel like some people might find it useless if they are confident enough in their keto ways, but others might find it helpful to use as a starting point from which they can then adjust and grow as they get used to the keto way of eating and cooking. I appreciate any feedback.

Meatballs n salad

Meatballs and green salad
Approx. cal 754 | 7.6g c | 63g f | 40g p​​​
4 meatballs on top of a salad made with:
half a baby gem lettuce, 1 stalk of celery, fresh chives, parsley and thyme and 1 ball of mozzarella. Seasoned with 1 tbsp olive oil and pink Himalayan salt. You can add a drop of vinegar if you can tolerate it.

This meals is quite easy to make, it doesn't take too long to put together since we use previously prepared meatballs which we store in the freezer for those low energy days when you don't have the inclination to cook.

lamb chops roast veg

Lamb chops with roasted vegetables
Approx. cal 672 | 12.6g c | 43g f | 61.6g p
20g each of courgette, carrot and bell peppers & 10g each of celery & onion (roasted in the oven)
100g pumpkin (boiled & topped with butter)
200g lamb loin chops (fried in coconut oil)
Salad made with romaine lettuce and watercress, seasoned with olive oil and pink Himalayan salt.

One of my all time favourites!

zoodles with minced beef

Creamy zoodles with minced beef
Approx. cal 923 | 13g c | 80.6g f | 36.5g p
124g courgette, spiralised (zoodles).
190g minced beef fried in coconut oil with:
2 heaped tbsp of soffritto (onion, celery, carrot)
20g bell pepper.
Once meat and veg are ready, add zoodles, 25g cream cheese and 1 tbsp olive oil, mix and serve.
Tastes great with garlic and any herb you love, like sage, thyme, oregano or parsley.

Such a simple dish, quick to put together and tastes so good. Comfort food!

chicken mayo

Chicken mayo lettuce boats
Approx. cal 717 | 4g c | 59g f | 43.7g p
200g boiled chicken breast, shredded & mixed with 45ml mayonnaise (I used store bought), chopped chives and pink salt.
3 large romaine leaves, fill with watercress and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and pink salt. 
Fill lettuce boats with chicken mixture.

This was my birthday meal, so it actually has a few naughty treats like mayonnaise, hummus and apple, but I made sure to keep the carb content low and only have small amounts of some things I really like. I'm glad I didn't get much of a reaction from this little cheat.

dessert

Keto bounty bar with coconut cream and blueberries
Approx. cal 277 | 5.5g c | 13.4g f | 1g p
63ml coconut cream (I love Sainsbury's own)
40g blueberries
1 homemade keto bounty bar (recipe here)

These are some of my staples. I eat this dessert, or a variation of it, daily. You can find my recipe for the keto bounty bars here. I often enjoy my bounty bars with a cup of decaf and coconut oil.

I'm no longer aiming for weight loss as I'm now happy with my weight, so I need to meet my fat goals (117g a day) if I want to maintain my current weight. You do not need to use as much fat in your meals if you have body fat you want to lose.

salmon and veg

Salmon with stir-fried vegetables
Approx. cal 495 | 12g c | 35.7g f | 29.6g p
120g salmon fillet friend in coconut oil.
In a separate pan, fry 124g courgette, 50g onion, 60g bell pepper, 1 clove of garlic in coconut oil.

One of my favourite protein sources is fresh salmon. My sister cooks for me as I'm unable to cook due to my chronic illness and she has become so good at cooking the salmon - crispy outside and melt-in-your-mouth inside. Love it!

I believe her secret is using a timer and turning the salmon every 2 minutes so it cooks evenly from both sides until she can see the colour changing towards the centre. Yum!

That's it for this week. I hope these meals ides have given you some inspiration for your meal planning. I'd love to hear what your thoughts are. What would you like to see on these meal idea posts?

As of September 2017 I have been on a low histamine ketogenic diet.
The keto part is to manage symptoms of ME/CFS and I have had great improvement from being in ketosis. One of the biggest benefits has been dramatic decrease in chronic pain and no longer being bedridden. You can read about that here.

The low histamine part of the diet is due to the fact that my body seems to have trouble managing histamine levels and I have entered a permanent state of allergic reaction including constant itching as well as rashes and hives. By controlling the types of foods and amount of histamine I ingest, I have been able to reduce these reactions dramatically. You can read about that here.

My weight loss journey

Weight loss journey

People with chronic illness often find it hard to lose weight and many wrongly believe that it’s useless changing their diet because they cannot exercise.

Most of my weight loss journey was without exercise, mostly bedridden, but still consuming decent meals daily. At one point even three cooked meals daily! It’s a slow process that requires commitment and consistency and I haven’t only lost weight, with diet changes alone, I am no longer bedridden!

What you choose to eat can really make a big difference in your life.

When I started my low carb, high fat, clean eating journey in 2015, just before my ME/CFS diagnosis, I weighed 79kg.

I was wearing size 18/20 clothes and my health was rapidly deteriorating. I picked up every bug that went around. I was exhausted and I had frequent headaches, shooting pains throughout my body and doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on, all tests they did came back healthy. I decided that it was probably just because I was very unfit and not eating well enough, so I decided to get into shape and take better care of myself.Continue reading

Low Histamine Keto Meal Ideas, Sep 2017

Low Histamine Keto

This is the first of what I hope will become a regular series on my blog: low histamine ketogenic meal ideas!

I had initially thought of doing weekly meal plans in advance and sharing them here with you, but my health doesn't allow for consistency like that and I've only ever managed the first post. So I have decided to rather post a round-up of past meals which you and I can scroll through for inspiration whenever we're short on foodie ideas. 

I hope that you will find this series useful, I was relieved to discover I'm not the only one who is in need of low histamine ketogenic meal ideas, there seem to be many people out there with similar issues. You are not alone!

I consistently post photos of all my meals on my dedicated Instagram profile, but I thought a more detailed description and ingredient list might be useful to some less creative cooks out there.

I will occasionally also share the recipes to some of my favourite dishes. This is mainly for future reference, but I'm sure somebody else out there might appreciate them too. 

My Favourite Meals, September 2017

Stir Fry in Lettuce Boats

Stir Fry in Lettuce Boats
Includes: minced beef fried in coconut oil with white onion, ginger, garlic, bell peppers, courgettes and some cabbage or carrot if you like. Served on romaine or baby gem lettuce.

This is one of my favourite meals. It's quite easy to make, doesn't take too long to prepare and it tastes good!

Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken with Vegetables
Includes: chicken thighs and drumsticks, a selection of roasting veg like onion, garlic, courgette, sweet potato, parsnip, bell peppers, radishes. Coat with ghee or coconut oil and season with your favourite herbs and spices.

This is a great meal for those days when you can't be standing over the stove stirring things. Just pop it into the oven and go rest till it's done!

Crumbed Steak

Coconut Crumbed Steak with Salad
Includes: coconut flour and dessicated coconut mixed with garlic, salt, pepper and freshly chopped parsley. Coat the meat in it and fry in coconut oil. Serve immediately with a salad or your choice of vegetables. 

If you can tolerate egg, then you can coat the meat in egg before covering in the coconut mixture.

This crumbed meat is so delicious! My mum makes this for me when she visits. You can use chicken instead of the stir fry beef strips. Remember to prepare the sides first and the meat last so it can be served immediately when ready.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops with Vegetables
Includes: vegetables of your choice, prepared and cooked first. Once ready, fry chops in coconut oil. Pan must be hot initially to seal the meat on both sides. Then lower to med-high heat until cooked to your liking. 

Turn the meat every 2 minutes to brown evenly from both sides. Season only with salt.

This is one of my all-time favourites! My sister makes this one for me and it is so full of flavour and has great fat and protein content. 

As of September 2017 I have been on a low histamine ketogenic diet.
The keto part is to manage symptoms of ME/CFS and I have had great improvement from being in ketosis. One of the biggest benefits has been dramatic decrease in chronic pain and no longer being bedridden. You can read about that here.

The low histamine part of the diet is due to the fact that my body seems to have trouble managing histamine levels and I have entered a permanent state of allergic reaction including constant itching as well as rashes and hives. By controlling the types of foods and amount of histamine I ingest, I have been able to reduce these reactions. You can read about that here.

Histamine Intolerance, how I’m reducing my rashes and hives

rashes and hives

Have you been experiencing itching, rashes or hives since changing your diet? Have you had no luck in identifying an allergen or trigger despite elimination diets and eating clean? If you have recently switched to a low carb diet, it is very possible that you are experiencing an allergic reaction, though you might not be allergic to individual items, it might be a little more complicated than that.

Something I recently discovered, which surprised me, is that people can be histamine intolerant. Many people aren’t aware that histamine is present on all our food, even the fresh, natural produce and meat you buy from your local supermarket. Not only can ingredients contain histamine, but some liberate histamine already present in the body.

Histamine is a compound that is produced by our bodies as well as by the bacteria that grows on our food as it ages. It is released when there is inflammation or an allergen introduced to the body. It has healing properties, but some people are sensitive to it. Anybody who has ever suffered from seasonal allergies will know what that feels like.Continue reading

Paleo-ketogenic Bounty Bars Recipe

Keto Bounty Bars

I often get asked about the recipe for these delicious treats. When you switch to a paleo or ketogenic way of eating, it is often difficult to come to terms with losing many of your favourite snacks. Finding clean alternatives to snack on is usually very difficult because they either taste nothing like the original or just downright awful! Bounty bars were one of my favourite chocolates, so I was very happy when I first found a recipe for them.

I have no idea where the original recipe came from, but I have made these so many times and changed the recipe a few times, so I will share my own version of these, which I am using now. I love them!

One thing I have noticed is that keto recipes often use a huge amount of sweetener which I just cannot tolerate. I don’t have such a sweet tooth! So my recipe only calls for a small amount of sweetener, please taste your mixture and adjust as necessary before putting these delicious chocolate treats together.

These bounty bar substitutes are one of my favourite keto staples and are sugar, nut and egg free. They can also be dairy free, so they can also be paleo friendly and are unlikely to cause allergic reactions. With my current histamine overload, I have been able to continue enjoying one or two of these a day without reactions.

bounty bar dessert

I enjoy them on their own as a tea time treat or as a dessert after dinner with blueberries, double cream or coconut cream.

I don’t make single bars covered in chocolate, but rather large slabs with a layer of chocolate on top that, once set, will be cut into squares. This way they only have chocolate on top.

One optional addition I sometimes make is to add a big scoopful of raw cacao nibs to the coconut mixture. This adds extra nutrients and some crunch. Just beware that cacao is high histamine, so people with histamine intolerance might want to avoid this addition.

I make mine with 90% Lindt chocolate, so they’re not completely dairy free, but if you use dairy free chocolate, or mix cocoa, sweetener and coconut oil, then that should work out quite well too.

I get about 24 little squares from my tray, each one worth about 126 calories of which 2g is carb, 13g is fat and 1g is protein. Please check these macros using your app and scanning the products you use for a more precise macro breakdown. The macros per bar will vary based on the size of your tray and how many bars you make out of this mixture.

bounty bars in tray

Paleo-Ketogenic Bounty Bars

Recipe from: chronicallyhopeful.com/bountybars

Coconut base

  • 200g unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 50g melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter (I use this)
  • 1 cup coconut milk/cream (I prefer Sainsbury’s own brand coconut cream in a carton, it’s super thick and creamy)
    • I have also doubled this ingredient and it still worked well, made thicker bars.
    • Do not use the milk substitute like Alpro/Koko coconut milk, these are watered down and won’t set.
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp Erythritol

Mix these ingredients together well, taste and adjust sweetener as needed. You can also add any extra ingredients at this point (cacao nibs, dried berries, etc) and mix well. Line a baking tray with ovenproof paper and press the mixture onto the tray in an even layer. Place tray in the fridge to set while you prepare the topping. Let it set for at least 30min.

Chocolate topping

  • 100g (10 squares) melted 90% Lindt chocolate
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

You can melt both in the microwave in a ceramic bowl. Short 30 second bursts and stir between.

Mix these ingredients together and pour over the cooled coconut base. Return the tray to the fridge or freezer for about an hour before cutting into squares and storing in airtight containers. I store mine in the freezer and take them out as needed, they defrost quite quickly (about 10 min).

I usually take them out before dinner and it’s ready to eat for dessert, but they can also be eaten directly from the freezer.

They will last for a few weeks… theoretically. I make a new batch of these keto bounty bars just about every other week, though!

Please let me know in the comments below what you think if you try this recipe!

Allergic reaction: hives and itching

rashes

I went to the doctor again this week. This is the fourth doctor I’ve seen about my itching. She was lovely and also thinks it’s an allergic reaction after examining the bumps with a magnifying tool. She initially thought folliculitis, but changed her mind upon inspection.

So I’m taking Fexofenadine and Ranitidine daily for the allergic reactions I’m having constantly. They don’t go away anymore. They used to just last about an hour then go away, this week has been non-stop.

Hives, rashes and insane itching and burning. It’s now all over my body. It calms down at times and then flares up after meals and with heat and stress. So if I’m in bed it flares, and dressed too warmly, sit in the sun, argue with somebody or eat certain foods, etc.

Doctors seem to be certain it’s allergies, but haven’t sent me for any tests yet. So still unsure what’s causing it, though the low histamine diet did provide some relief for a few weeks.

The current flare started after reintroducing a couple of things last week. Going to have to stop them again and see if it subsides.

This morning the hives and itching woke me at 4.20 and I was scratching non-stop for about 2 hours before I fell back asleep. The sun was already rising.

I then woke again with another flare around 9. It’s past noon now and it’s still quite itchy and the hives are not subsiding yet.

It’s super debilitating. Being so itchy that you can’t think straight or do anything but rub or scratch your skin all over because you need relief, even if it causes pain, the pain is a distraction from the itching. I now have bruises all over too from scratching so hard.

This of course means I’m exhausted because scratching requires physical exertion which causes payback for anybody with ME/CFS. So as you can imagine, I’ve not been very productive for the past week. Spending most of my energy on scratching, digesting a meal and then scratching again…

Distraction is my best weapon at this point as the pills aren’t really taking it away yet. So I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and TV this week. It does help to keep my mind off it.

I added apples and sweet potato to my diet in small quantities this past week, although they’re not Keto friendly, but they contain quercetin which is a natural anti-histamine. I’ve also added thyme which apparently helps prevent anaphylaxis.

Have you ever gone through anything like this? How did you relieve the itching? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE: find out how I’m reducing the itching as well as the rashes and hives that later appeared, here.

The Paleo-ketogenic Cookbook, by Dr Sarah Myhill

PK cookbook

Dr Myhill’s latest book arrived in the mail today! It’s a Paleo-ketogenic cookbook called “The PK Cookbook – Go Paleo-Keto and get the best of both worlds“. It’s not yet been released publicly, the release date is set for 10 October 2017, but I managed to get a copy on early release and love what I’ve seen so far. Click the link above to pre-order your copy.

I’ve been so excited to get this book and have already skimmed through it today, highlighting and sticking post-it notes all over the place!

So far I like all the information I’ve seen, explanations about both the Paleo and the Keto ways of eating and why they would benefit us.

There are lots of charts, lists and scientific explanations sprinkled throughout the book as well as some jokes and  quotes. Dr Myhill’s personality comes through in her writing and makes her books fun to read. There are no coloured photographs or glossy pages, just the good stuff, the stuff that matters.Continue reading

How to get started on a ketogenic diet, part 1

Empty Plate

Transitioning to a ketogenic diet can be quite daunting!

Not only are you changing the way you eat, but the nature of this diet requires a long-term commitment. You cannot do it half-way, you cannot mix and match it with something else. Specially not if you’re doing it for healing purposes. You have to be all in for at least a few months.

The ketogenic way of eating literally goes against everything that we have been taught for decades. So why choose this diet if it contradicts what is being pushed as healthy in mainstream health education?

Firstly, and most importantly, there are the thousands of testimonies of people who have not only lost weight, but healed from all sorts of illnesses thanks to this way of eating. The proof is in the keto pudding!

Secondly, there’s no product to buy – so no corporate gains to be made by promoting the ketogenic way of life, just consciously making good choices, and of course there is also a lot of science to back this up, but I’m not going into any scientific explanations here – Google can help you with that.

If you’ve googled and chatted to ketonians online or in person, done your research and been convinced this is something you want to do, then this post is for you. My hope is that this post will help you to make this transition to keto as straightforward as possible.

In this series, I aim to provide a simplified step-by-step guide to getting started on the ketogenic diet. My goal is to help those with chronic illness to make the transition easily since many, like me, will suffer from brain fog which makes cognitive function and learning new things quite difficult at times.

The good news is that the ketogenic way of eating will improve cognitive function and it will all become easier.Continue reading

Paleo-ketogenic Menu Plan Monday, 10 April 17

Paleo-ketogenic Menu Plan

One of the first things I learned when I started a low carb diet 2 years ago, was that preparation is key.

Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” and this is so true when it comes to changing your diet because you are literally changing your way of life. Everything needs to change. From the way you shop to the way you socialise, and it’s not only about what you cook, but also about the way you cook.

I see many people starting this new ketogenic way of life, struggling to meet their macros or stay within the limits of their nutritional goals. They could all benefit from menu planning. It makes such a huge difference and really makes life easier.

I used to take part in Meal Plan Mondays many years ago when I first opened Nemo’s Kitchen, back when I ate an extremely unhealthy diet and ignored my food intolerance. Nemo’s Kitchen has been resurrected, now in a much more health conscious format!Continue reading

Keto Rash: Relieve The Itch

I have been on the paleo-ketogenic diet for exactly 8 weeks now. As many of you know, I am using this diet as a way to help manage the symptoms of my severe ME/CFS (read more about my CFS here). Things are going well and I have seen some improvements in a few areas already.

People who switch to the low carb, high fat way of life often see great results in weight management and general health, so I am pleased that I also saw such improvements despite my chronic condition. I have less general pain, the heaviness that made moving very difficult and painful has lifted quite a bit, I feel lighter with more mental clarity, I don’t suffer from the munchies anymore, and when I brush my teeth, I no longer get heart palpitations and breathlessness!

This past week has been rather frustrating, though, I started itching all over my body!
I had been itching previously too, but put it down to the fact that I wasn’t showering very frequently due to my CFS.

With the paleo-ketogenic diet I have actually improved my condition slightly and have been able to shower every 3-4 days rather than only once a week. This is when I realised that the itching wasn’t related to the showers. I’d itch more in the evenings, even on days I’d already had a shower. Very strange!

Continue reading