The spirit of the holidays is upon us. During this time, everyone seems to be a little bit nicer, more caring, and all around more joyful. We look forward to spending time with our families and seeing the happiness in our children’s eyes as they experience the holiday magic.
But to arrive at this magical place, there are usually several weeks of constant running around to ensure the holiday is exactly how we want it to be (which will ultimately increase our stress levels).
It shouldn’t be this stressful but unfortunately it usually is. If we can’t avoid things out of our control—holiday traffic and crowded malls—there is another way we can lessen this stress and that’s by giving our bodies the right fuel. During this joyous time, the last thing we want to do is eat foods that are going to make us feel sick or run down. Unhealthy foods are difficult to digest, cause spikes in blood sugar, and can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and low energy.
Since there isn’t a specific traditional holiday meal that everyone abides by during Christmas, I’ve compiled a full course menu for the holiday that would suit any gathering while sticking to a healthy ketogenic diet. The last thing we want is to wake up early on Christmas morning feeling like the zombie apocalypse crept into your living room instead of jolly old Saint Nicholas.
Low Carb Eggnog
What would the season be without this delicious spiced delight? But, you can guess my next words… it doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar. I would also skip the rum… sorry! I don’t mind being the bad guy knowing what alcohol does to the body. It raises blood sugar and insulin, decreases our anti-diuretic hormone which causes our kidneys to increase urine production and subsequently makes us extremely dehydrated. Even worse, it can decrease sexual arousal and performance. Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Clause…
- ½ Pint of heavy whipping cream
- 2 eggs with yolks and whites divided
- ¼ cup xylitol
- ¼ teaspoon stevia extract
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Dash of cloves
- Dash of cinnamon
- Using a mixer, beat egg yolks until they lighten in color
- Add the xylitol, stevia, cream, nutmeg, vanilla, cloves and cinnamon and beat until combined
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Whisk egg whites into cream mixture
- Chill and enjoy
- 2-6 Bone Prime Rib (boned and tied)
- 3-4 TBSP grass fed butter
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 TBSP fresh Thyme
- 1 TBSP fresh Rosemary
- 1 TBSP black pepper
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 3 TBSP Himalayan sea salt
- Remove prime rib 4 from refrigerator 4 hours before cooking
- Cut ½ inch slits on the top of the roast and insert minced garlic
- Rub the outside of the roast with butter.
- Combine the seasonings and spread evenly on the roast
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees
- Transfer roast to a roasting pan and place bone side down
- Insert thermometer into center of roast and place in the one.
- Initial cooking time should be 5 minutes per pound of meat (9 lb roast for 45 minutes) which will help give the roast a nice crunchy exterior
- After the initially cooking time is up, turn the oven off but DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!
- After 2 hours the center of your roast should be 135 degrees, which is medium-rare, medium is 150 degrees
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes
Keto Pumpkin Carbonara
Many of my patients tell me they miss noodles while eating ketogenic. A great, zero carb substitution are shirataki noodles. They intensely soak up the flavor of whatever dish you use them in. Swap the regular noodles out for these and I bet your family won’t be able to tell the difference.
- 1 package of Shirataki noodle
- 5 oz Pancetta
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 TBSP grass fed butter
- 3 TBSP organic pumpkin purée
- ½ tsp dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse off the shirataki noodles under hot water for 2-3 minutes. Dry and set aside
- Chop pancetta and place into a hot pan to sear. Once crisp, remove from the pan and save the fat
- Place butter into small pot and let brown. Once it starts to brown, mix in the sage and pumpkin purée
- Add the heavy whipping cream and pancetta fat to the pumpkin purée sauce and mix well.
- Turn the pan that had the pancetta on to high and add the shirataki noodles. Dry fry them for 5 minutes until a good amount of steam has come out of them
- Add Parmesan cheese to the pumpkin sauce and mix well. Turn the heat to low and stir until sauce is thickened
- Add noodles and pancetta into the sauce and toss well
- Add 2 egg yolks and mix into the sauce
Orange and Sage Glazed Duck Breast
- 1 duck breast approx 6 oz
- 2 TBSP grass fed butter
- 1 TBSP heavy whipping cream
- 1 TBSP stevia extract
- ½ tsp orange extract or essential oil
- ¼ tsp fresh sage
- 1 cup spinach
- Core the duck skin on top of the breast and season with salt and pepper
- In a pan over medium-low heat, add butter and stevia. Let this cook down until the butter has slightly browned
- Once the butter has turned golden color, add sage and orange oil. Let this cook until butter is a deep amber color
- In the mean time, put the duck breast into a cold pan. Set the pans heat to medium-high on the stove
- After a few minutes, flip the duck breast and see the delicious crisp skin!
- Add heavy whipping cream to the orange and sage butter, and stir well. Pour this over the duck breast in the pan and let it mix with the duck fat cooking a few minutes longer
- Wilt some spinach in the pan used to make the sauce
Chai Spice Mug Cake
Cookies and cakes are loaded with white flour, sugar, and ingredients that are known to throw us out of ketosis and push our bodies away from our goals. Almond flour or coconut flours are a good substitution but still have some carbohydrates, but much better than the alternative. A mug cake is a fun way to be creative and get a treat in less than two minutes. Although I don’t condone the use of a conventional microwave frequently, this is a simple way to enjoy a low sugar holiday cake.
- 1 large egg
- 2 TBSP grass fed butter
- 2 TBSP almond flour
- 1 TBSP xylitol
- 7 drops stevia
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 TBSP almond flour
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp clove
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- Mix all room temperature ingredients together in a microwaveable mug
- Microwave on high for 70 seconds
- Turn cup upside down and lightly bang it against a plate
- Optional: top with fresh whipped topping and sprinkle of cinnamon
I must admit I made this recently and holy cow was it delicious! No chocolate in here and believe me you don’t miss it. So while your family and friends are loading up on sugary cookies, grab this flavorful treat knowing you are feeding your body good, and filling up on satiating fats to help heal your body.
- 1 cup coconut butter (mana)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp peppermint essential oil
- ½ tsp vanilla stevia extract
- ¾ tsp xylitol granules
- 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- Mix the coconut butter, coconut oil, peppermint oil, vanilla stevia, and xylitol granules well. You may want to have the coconut butter and coconut oil slightly softened to mix more easily
- When mixed well lay flat on a baking sheet covered with either wax paper or silicone sheet protector
- Sprinkle the bark with the Himalayan sea salt
- Place in a cold environment, either fridge or if you live in Cleveland…. Your garage 🙂 overnight
- In the morning or once hardened, break into small bite size pieces
Tips to Review
- If you’ve heard it from me once you’ve heard it a million times, go to a holiday party or gathering prepared. Don’t come empty handed, or if you do please eat a nutritionally dense meal/snack prior to leaving your house. Empty stomachs and endless temptation are never going to end well.
- Stick with the safe foods. Load up on veggies, protein and good fats before you even think about something higher in carbohydrates.
- Avoid high carbohydrate beverages. This goes for both alcohol as well as juices, soda, or diet soda. My heart hurts from the thought of the amount of sugars we can ingest in our drinks. Stick with water flavored with either lemon, cucumber, or spritz of fruit.
- Get an eating buddy. Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable or help you make good choices. I’m not asking you to find a babysitter. We are all adults capable of making our own decisions no matter the consequence. What I am suggesting is to have someone you love gently remind you that maybe there are better options other than that casserole, roll, or dessert. Could be as simple as a code word (skip that disappointed look that may lead to feelings of guilt). Remember this is out of love you’ve asked this person to help you.
- Keep focused. I can’t say it enough, think about what you want to accomplish. Not only is eating healthier a constant physical choice and takes work, but it takes a conscious effort to change our mind set and thinking. We need to change the way we look at food and that doesn’t happen overnight. The majority of the time this behavior is learned, listening to what society tells us, or can even be a deeper emotional tie or trauma we have with so called “comfort foods”. Break the cycle of what it really is….an addiction. Sugar is a socially acceptable drug. We need to re-condition our thinking and emotional tie with this legal stimulant.
I frequently tell our patients it is okay to get excited about food. Let’s do this! But get excited for the right reason, because we know we aren’t going to get thrown off the wagon and are feeding ourselves the best quality food/fuel possible. Why wait until the new year to make resolutions and eat healthier? This upcoming holiday season start making those resolutions a priority, share them with your family and let them help you or join in! The reason for the season is to enjoy life, love, family, friends and thank God for all He has provided for us. It’s no coincidence that this wonderful clean, nutritional dense food is made bountiful for us.