Apocalypse-Proof Pantry Staples

(for a keto or low carb vegetarian)

It’s a scary world for us rabbit-food-lovers when the produce isle suddenly becomes less safe. What’s a vegetarian to do?

There’s actually a couple questions wrapped up in one:

  • How do I get micronutrients in when produce is less safe?
  • Is there a way to make produce more safe?
  • How do I prepare for periods of food shortage or lack of electricity? What should my zombie pantry look like?

How do I get micronutrients when produce isn’t an option?

My approach has been:

  1. Increase nuts and seeds. My noatmeal recipe is a great way to pack in fiber and vitamins. You can buy all the ingredients well in advance, just make sure to refrigerate hemp seeds and flax meal after opening. I also love my sweetener free granola recipe (find it on Instagram) which freezes well for later.
  2. Increase dairy. This is a tricky one – obviously, if you have a dairy sensitivity, don’t eat it. But grass fed dairy is full of highly bioavailable micronutrients, so it’s a great choice if you tolerate it ok. If you have a lactose sensitivity, try a lactose-free cheese like jarlsberg. If you have a cow casein sensitivity (this is actually a more common cause of dairy sensitivity), try a goat cheese! To keep it from becoming “too much” I focus on “soft” dairy with probiotics, like full fat greek yogurt and ricotta. Just make sure you’re getting enough fiber (from nuts and seeds) to counteract the cheese.
  3. Increase frozen veggies and berries. I’ve got a smoothie recipe on my Instagram that I’ll post over here. But 3/4 cup of frozen small berries (raspberries, blackberries, cranberries) and a handful of frozen kale will go a long way to meeting your needs (and satisfying your sweet tooth) without kicking you out of ketosis.
  4. Supplement where necessary. One of my favorite things about the Cronometer app is that it tracks micronutrient intake, so that you can pinpoint your supplement needs. But, supplement quality matters. Please, do not buy your vitamins on amazon (buy this book instead). Look for name brands that have been independently lab verified – or buy through a verifying pharmacy like Valisure. My favorite vitamin of late has been “The Other Pill” from Even Health; It’s formulated for people who have been taking birth control, but also happens to align nicely with the things I’m low on most often.
  5. Focus on recovery and stress reduction. Stress actually increases our use of micronutrients and weakens our immune system. So, the less I watch the news, the more I sleep I get, and the more time I spend active and outdoors… the better my overall health with be. If the stress ship has sailed, this might be a good time to press pause on fasting and eating at a calorie deficit. Both mental and physical stress fill up the “stress bucket,” so cutting back on physical stress might be necessary in times of high mental stress. Also, consider increasing B vitamins, since cortisol (the stress hormone) consumes more of them.

Is there a way to make produce more safe?

If you’ve never paused to consider how disgusting your produce is before, I bet COVID-19 had you thinking on it and recoiling in horror. So, this is as good a time as ever to consider investing in an ozone generator. Its a very safe, effective, environmentally friendly, and chemical free way to purify veggies before eating. This article and this EPA Guidance Document talk about how it’s more effective than chlorine, and you can buy an ozone generator for around $100 on Amazon, but the best type generates ozone from the water rather than the air (which then has to be pumped into a bowl of water) like this one from Roving Blue. All you do is stick your veggies in a bowl of ozonated water for 5 minutes.

What should my Zombie Survival Pantry Look Like?

Personally, we try to keep 2 months of food on hand at a time. We don’t want to be wasteful, so that means it has to be food we’d eat normally – high quality, yummy, and keto. Also, periods of food shortage are great times to be in ketosis. It makes fasting easier, may increase immunity, and usually keto foods are left on the shelves long after bread disappears. Here’s a list of our favorites:

  • Electrolytes: Salt, K1000 (for potassium), and Magnesium Glycinate (we get Pure brand). Dehydration isn’t just about water, and it will kill you much faster than a food shortage. Remember that being in ketosis makes your electrolyte requirement go up.
  • Keto Bricks. These things are apocalypse gold. Each bar is 1000 calories of perfect keto macros, and lasts forever. I have to be honest, some of the flavors are… not delicious. But we LOVE the peanut butter flavor, it tastes like fudge. When not fighting off zombies, we take these along for hiking, biking, camping, and emergency snacks stored in glove boxes and desk drawers.
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters. In my pantry we currently have: pecans, macademia nuts, shredded coconut (unsweetened), peanut butter, almond butter, almond flour, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax meal, hazelnut meal, coconut oil and MCT oil (you can eat it with a spoon or blended in coffee), and others I’m probably forgetting. These are great for eating as-is, or making into noatmeal or sweetener free granola. Just don’t forget that hemp and flax need to be refrigerated after opening.
  • Phat Fudge, because obviously every apocalypse meal requires dessert. Also a favorite hiking food.
  • Jocko Molk Protein Powder. If you haven’t heard me harp on this stuff yet, its the most magical combination of good tasting & good for you ever created. But, if you don’t want to take my word for it on the magic of Molk, any protein powder (preferably one free of sucralose) will do. Remember that in times of lower calories, higher protein is important to preserve muscle.
  • Dang Bars. Listen, there are basically zero bars on the market that I’m willing to put in my body. Dang bars are the exception. And they’re vegan.
  • Keto Birch Benders pancake mix. This one is particularly good, because it only requires water to make. I stick to the plain version because it doesn’t have any sweeteners.
  • Cheese crisps. My favorite brand is “Just the Cheese” but there’s lots of others out there. Perfect for binge watching Netflix.
  • Lupini Beans. Low carb, high fat, Brami makes them in a convenient snack pack.
  • Flax Seed or Jilz Crackers (both available at Whole Foods). Topped with olive tampenade, pesto, artichoke bruchetta, or any other yummy dip you can think of. Consider serving pickles and olives on the side.
  • MCT oil or MCT Oil Powder (the powder mixes better without a blender). This stuff keeps you full for a very long time.
  • Coffee, beause we are learning first hand how much going without coffee sucks.
  • Canned black soy beans – The Eden Organics brand is good quality. They’re cheapest from Swanson Vitamins, but you can get them for a bit more on Amazon.
  • Palmini Pasta – the yummiest keto pasta around. No calories itself, but a great conveyance device for alfredo, pesto, and nutritional yeast. Also, if you have a fridge, throw some marinara, ricotta and mozzarella on there for a great pasta bake.
  • Assuming the freezer still works: frozen brocolli, cauliflower, raspberries, faux meat, frozen pizza, ice cream (calorie dense, yay), a few batches of meal prepped items like: keto soups, frittatas, and fathead bagels.
  • Assuming the fridge still works: the first thing we stocked up on were eggs, dairy, and tofu. All of the nutritionally dense things.

So there you have it, my very very long list of snacks to get you through these times. Have I forgotten anything? Comment your favorites below!

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How to go off keto without going off track

Maybe you’ve reached maintenance and are looking to find a more moderate/flexible diet – but you never learned how to eat carbs and stay healthy.

Or maybe Coronavirus has made sticking to keto a little too difficult right now. Either way, I’ve created a video with some tips to help you out.

Topics covered include:
-How to intermittent fast when carbs make you hangry
-Controlling the blood sugar roller coaster
-Why whole grains might be better than “gluten free” breads made of tapioca and rice
-Why protein is your friend – and why protein powder is worth the upfront investment
-Moving more without killing yourself
-No, you didn’t gain 5 pounds of fat overnight
-It’s ok not to be ok, cut yourself some slack. Better to pause weight loss than to push too hard.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Because sometimes you just need something creamy and cheesy….

This can be made stove top or in a slow cooker. For stove top just keep everything at a very low simmer.

Ingredients:

  • 2lb broccoli (I used frozen)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 brick (8oz) cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups pre-shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum (optional):

Instructions:

  • Mix the broth, cream, cream cheese, butter, and seasoning in the slow cooker and set to high.
  • I used frozen broccoli, so to speed things up I roasted it before adding to the soup. I dumped a bag of frozen broccoli and the garlic on a sheet pan, sprayed with olive oil, and roasted at 400F for 18 minutes. If you use fresh you can skip this step, or you can just put frozen broccoli in the slow cooker and cook for longer.
  • Add the broccoli and garlic to the slow cooker. Cook about 45 minutes, until hot and melty throughout.
  • Add the cheese and cook about 15 minutes more, until cheese is melted.
  • (Optional) add the xantham gum to thicken everything up a bit
  • (Optional) use a stick blender to lightly puree the soup and give it a more uniform consistency. Don’t pulverize it though!

Makes 9, 1-cup servings:

Makes 9x 1 cup servings, 337 calories / 7 net carb (6 if you omit garlic) / 30 fat / 11 protein each.

New Meal Plan!

Hey guys, just a quick announcement…

I’ve just linked a way more updated and super fancy meal plan for you to use! I hope this one is much more user friendly.

It also has options for vegan, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free… Etc.

I’ve been working on it for a while and tried to error proof as much as possible, but you know how it is when you’re too close to things… So if you spot an error please let me know!

>>Here It Is!<<

Fathead Flatbread

This flatbread looks super fancy, but really it’s a great weeknight dinner that’s ready in under 10 minutes if you meal prep the fathead bread part first.

It’s just a flatbread with Boursin garlic cheese spread, arugula, 2 fried eggs topped with melted muenster, and pickled onions. Pickled onions are also super easy to make for yourself, and last in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Fathead Flatbread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups pre-shredded, low-moisture mozzarella (trust me, you don’t want to use the authentic wet stuff here)
  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp xantham gum (optional, but gives it that authentic chewy texture)
  • 2 eggs

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Combine dry ingredients, then add the 2 eggs and combine further until you have an even paste.

Melt the mozzarella and cream cheese together – you can use the microwave or do it stove top. You want the mozzarella very melty, so usually I err on the side of over melted and then let it cool just until I can touch it without burning myself.

Knead together the almond flour and mozzarella mixtures. This takes a LOT of elbow grease and you have to work quickly because the mozzarella gets harder to work with as it cools. Your goal should be to eliminate almost all of the marbling appearance so you have a homogenous mixture, but don’t worry if you can’t get it 100%.

Roll out the dough to “pizza crust” thickness (a little under 1/4″, and a bit smaller than a large cookie sheet) between two sheets of parchment paper. Transfer the dough, still on a parchment paper, to a cookie sheet.

Bake until browned on top, about 15 minutes.

Allow to cool, and then slice into 8 squares.

You can store these in the fridge for a few days, but they also freeze incredibly well. Just broil on low to reheat.

Macros:

Makes 8 flatbreads. Each is 300 cal / 3 net carb (8 total) / 25 fat / 15 protein

Fun modifications:

  • You can replace 1 cup of the mozzarella for another cheese, maybe cheddar or asiago?
  • This dough makes a great pizza dough, just add toppings before cooking instead of after.
  • Make bagels instead!

Cauliflower Baked Mac & Cheese

Another pre-keto household favorite was Alton Brown’s baked cheddar Mac and Cheese. That stuff is gold. So obviously I had to figure out how to ketofy it.

Ingredients:
3 pounds (about 12 cups) frozen cauliflower (or broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, or really any other low carb veggies)
4 tbsp butter
4 oz (8 tbsp) cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
16oz (1lb) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated vegetarian parmesan

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Put frozen broccoli on a 9×13 casserole pan (or cookie sheet if you have a ceramic casserole pan like me) and spray with olive oil spray.
Bake for 17 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream over medium low heat until melted but not boiling.
Add in all the spices.
Add the cheese and stir with a whisk until melted and clumps disappear.

Lower the heat to 350F.
Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower in casserole pan. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling.

If you didn’t mistakenly grab shredded parm at the grocery store like me, you’ll end up with a lovely grated Parmesan crust if you broil for a second at the end!

This is a pretty easy recipe to tweak to fit your macros. I went with a “generous” ratio of cheese to veggies, but you can easily go up to 12 cups of veggies in this. Or, leave off the parmesan for less calories, or pile more on for a high protein boost.

Macros: makes 8 servings

435 cal / 5 net carbs / 38 fat / 17 protein.

Baked Zoodles

This is one of our go-to easy week night meals, ready in well under 30 minutes. My husband’s favorite meal before keto was baked ziti, so this is my attempt to recreate it. It’s also great reheated from the fridge, although ricotta isn’t always amazing from frozen.

This is also a great dish for mixed veggie and non-veggie households. I make a “meat” sauce while my husband makes a Meat sauce, and we’re both happy. Plus, ricotta is a great source of protein even if you leave out the “meat” crumbles at 7g protein per 1/4 cup.

Ingredients (makes 1 serving, multiply by desired # servings):

  • 1 zucchini, spiralized, about 130g*
  • 1/4 cup no-sugar-added sauce
  • 1/2 cup “meat” crumbles (I use Beyond Meat beef crumbles because it’s soy free) (optional)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta (some brands are higher carb so check the label, the one I use is 2g carbs in the 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) mozzarella, divided
  • Plenty of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper

*A note on zoodles: you can find these in the fridge or freezer section if almost every grocery store these days, but a spiralized turned out to be an awesome investment for us because I think the texture is fresher, its cheaper, and takes only a minute to do. You can also totally use sliced zucchini, or sub in any other veggie like brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, spaghetti squash, or eggplant.

Instructions:

Cook the zoodles and beefy crumbles in an oiled pan over medium heat until tender (we keep the meat and zucchini separate since my husband uses real meat).

In the mean time, combine ricotta, parmesan, half the mozzarella, and the seasoning in a bowl.

Once the zoodles are cooked you might fine a bit of water in the bottom of the pan, I drain that off. Add your sauce to the zoodles, and then spoon on the ricotta mixture.

Top with the remaining half of the mozzarella.

Broil on low until bubbling and golden.

Macros (with Beyond Meat crumbles):

500 cal / 8 net carb / 35 fat / 35 protein

Macros (WITHOUT meat crumbles):

420 cal / 8 net carb / 32 fat / 22 protein

Fathead Bagels

These bagels are definitely “As Good As The Real Thing Certified”… In fact, when we went off keto for vacation a few months back we had some regular bagels and were super depressed that they weren’t nearly as flavorful as our fathead bagels, for 10000x the carbs.

I can’t take credit for this recipe, there’s a million versions of it floating around the internet and I think the original recipe actually appeared on Reddit. But, I can add in my little tips and tricks to make sure it comes out as good as promised.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups pre-shredded, low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella (trust me, you don’t want to use the authentic wet stuff here)
  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp xantham gum (optional, but gives it that authentic chewy texture)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional toppings: I like Trader Joe’s “everything but the bagel” seasoning, but you can use any traditional bagel flavoring

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Combine dry ingredients, then add the 2 eggs and combine further until you have an even paste.

Melt the mozzarella and cream cheese together – you can use the microwave or do it stove top. You want the mozzarella very melty, so usually I err on the side of over melted and then let it cool just until I can touch it without burning myself.

Knead together the almond flour and mozzarella mixtures. This takes a LOT of elbow grease and you have to work quickly because the mozzarella gets harder to work with as it cools. Your goal should be to eliminate almost all of the marbling appearance so you have a homogenous mixture, but don’t worry if you can’t get it 100%.

Divide the dough into 6, roll into logs and then pinch the ends to form a bagel shape. It’s worth mentioning at this moment that this dough also makes incredible pizza dough.

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and press any toppings onto the top and bottom of the bagels.

Bake for 18 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through. If you have a convection oven, bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

You can store these in the fridge for a few days, but they also freeze incredibly well. I make a double or triple batch and freeze for easy dinners. Just microwave until soft enough to slice, and then broil on low to toast.

Macros:

Makes 6 bagels. With whole milk mozzarella, each bagel is 400 cal / 4.5 net carb (8 total) / 33 fat / 21 protein

Fun modifications:

  • You can replace 1 cup of the mozzarella for another cheese, maybe cheddar or asiago?
  • They don’t have to be bagel shaped, you can use this to make a delicious pizza or calzone crust, garlic knots, etc
  • I love to use these to make veggie sandwiches. The one pictured has melted Kerrygold garlic herb butter, sharp cheddar cheese, peppers, pickled onions, radish, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and sprouts

Bananaless Muffins

Continuing the theme of “keto __-less hacks” here are some banana muffins that contain… No actual banana! I was really suspicious of this banana extract (found next to the vanilla) based on the smell, but I found the pumpkin really helped balance it out and give it a delicious authentic texture!

This is another modification of my pumpkin spice muffins. The texture of them is perfect, so I figured we shouldn’t mess with success. Note that if you’re not keto, you can 100% replace the pumpkin with mashed banana for a delicious sweetener free, gluten free, or even vegan treat.

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
    • (Vegan/DF: canned coconut cream)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
  • 2 eggs
    • (Vegan/DF: 2tbsp psyllium husk mixed with 4tbsp hot water)
  • 1 tsp banana extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp ground psyllium husk (optional but reduces crumbliness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 24 Guittard bittersweet chocolate wafers, chopped (adds 15 cal / 1.5 net carb / 1 fat per muffin) – or sugar free chocolate chips
  • Stevia or pure monk fruit sweetener (but I promise, you don’t need it)

For the frosting:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • generous splash of vanilla
  • Vegan/DF: Whip 1 14oz can coconut cream (best if refrigerated overnight) with 2 tsp vanilla until it resembles whipped cream.


Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12-muffin tin. Take out your cream cheese and butter (for the frosting) to soften.

Sift together dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl melt the butter, then stir in the pumpkin. Finally, add eggs and banana and stir. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Then stir in any extras.

Spoon into the muffin tins, and flatten tops since this batter does not rise. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat together all ingredients with a hand mixer until frosting consistency.

You can store these in the fridge for a week, but I recommend keeping the frosting separate and topping just as you are ready to eat.

Macros (recipe makes 12 servings):

Muffins: 185 cal | 3.5 net carb (8 total) | 16 fat | 6 protein
Frosting: 135 cal | 1 carb | 14 fat | 1 protein per serving

Sugarless Cookies


I’ve spent the weekend testing Christmas Cookies and can’t wait to share the best ones with you!

First up are these completely sweetener free and ultra easy “sugar” cookies! I kept adding things to these because I couldn’t believe the answer was so simple, but when I got back to basics magic happened. Obviously they aren’t exactly sweet, but they make up for that in buttery goodness and completely satisfy my crunch craving.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups hazelnut meal
    • You can also use almond meal
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • Vegan/DF: substitute unflavored coconut oil (I like Carrington Farms organic coconut cooking oil, unflavored)
  • 2 eggs
    • Vegan: actually, the eggs are only here to cut down on crumbliness. You can leave them out entirely, or add 2tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • Optional, but gives it a chewier texture
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 -2 tsp flavoring of your choosing:
    • Vanilla Extract
    • Orange Extract or Orange Peel
    • Lemon Peel or Lemon Juice
    • Instant coffee
    • Bourbon
    • Powdered / Freeze Dried Raspberries

Recipe:

Make sure the butter is very soft, it may need a few seconds in the microwave. Its best if its not completely melted though.
Beat together all ingredients.
Wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out on wax paper or parchment paper to desired cookie thickness.
Cut out into fun shapes using cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie tray. (Tip: Lift up using a spatula, these are extra fragile before cooking)
Bake at 315-325F (depending on cookie size – I used 325 for 3″ cookies and 315 for 6″) for about 15 minutes. They are done when the edges are browned and the centers are firm to the touch.
Allow to cool still on the cookie sheet.


The macros for this one are tough since cookie sizes vary but…
Assuming you get 24 cookies, each would be: 123 Cal / 1 Net Carb (2 total) / 13 Fat / 2 Protein
For the entire recipe: 3176 Cal / 22 Net Carbs (53 total) / 317 Fat / 53 Protein