What I eat

Image courtesy of Canva

I stick to a variety of fresh, whole foods that are low carb, with good fats and protein.

I eat lots of veggies. I still eat fruit.

I eat nuts, seeds, nut butters. I add olive oil to just about everything. I cook and bake with butter or coconut oil.

I eat a variety of meats, including every part of the chicken with the skin including the livers, the fatty parts of the pork and beef, and all types of fish and seafood.

I still eat beans, legumes and chickpeas (most keto and low carb diets restrict this, but I like to alternate meat days with meat free days and I don’t find I get a blood sugar spike from these foods if I have a small enough quantity)

I don’t eat (or at least limit) bread, pasta, rice, starchy veg.

I don’t eat desserts when I am out, but I make a lot of great sugar free, low carb desserts at home, such as cakes, biscuits, slices, etc. that make AMAZING substitutes. I usually have some back up sugar free or dark chocolate for days when I’m craving something sweet. Or berries with fresh cream or sugar free ice cream is an easy alternative.

I’m not terribly strict on myself and try to eat for enjoyment. I don’t get upset with myself for eating a chocolate or having a bit of sourdough with some avocado if I really feel like it. Life is absolutely too short to never eat another square of roast pumpkin ever again. But I am mostly low carb. Everything within reason.

I ALWAYS read the label for ingredients and carb content. When you’re buying packaged foods, you don’t always know what you’re getting. Become savvy with nutrition labels. Understand macro contents and the ingredient list. When I see ham or sundried tomatoes that have glucose in the ingredients, I steer right away. When I see a packet of sugar free biscuits with white flour as the main ingredients and 20g of carbs per serving, I put it away. When a bread claims to be low carb but is still 25g of carbs per serving, I don’t buy it. When I see almond milk that has 10 ingredients, I put it back on the shelf. When the main ingredient in tzatziki isn’t yoghurt, I don’t want it. I try to stick to less ingredients, less processed, and no added unnecessities. E.g. coconut milk should be just that. Coconut milk with maybe a bit of water.

I EAT:

  • Low carb veggies or fruits or whatever you want to call them. That’s a huge range of non starchy veg. Generally anything that grows above ground. Anything leafy, green, crunchy, colourful. Eggplant, zucchini, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, fennel, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, capsicum, tomato, kale, green beans, avocados…. This is a great list from the Diet Doctor.
  • Onion, shallots and garlic.
  • I eat the occasional pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, beetroot, parsnip, peas, but in small quantities.
  • Low carb fruits, such as berries. And low GI fruits in small quantities, such as kiwi fruit and stone fruits. Lemons and limes, especially squeezed on salads or in soda water (sometimes with vodka, too).
  • Dark chocolate. Preferably 85% Lindt or equivalent. Never less than 70% cocoa.
  • Sugar free sweeteners. Stevia, erythritol, xylitol are my go-tos.
  • Nuts, particularly macadamias, almonds, walnuts and pecans. Nut butters including almond butter and peanut butter. Almond meal.
  • Protein balls and protein cookies (homemade).
  • Dips with low carb seed crackers or veggies. Hommus, eggplant, roast capsicum, tzatziki.
  • Cheese.
  • Thick, full fat Greek yoghurt. Great with berries, cream, sugar free ice cream, low carb pancakes, or mixed into a salad.
  • Low carb wraps and protein bread. The occasional small slice of sourdough if it’s topped with fats to bring the GI down (avocado, butter, cheese, cream cheese and salmon).
  • Salads, grilled veggies, steamed veggies, stir fried veggies.
  • Good quality tuna in oil. Sirena tuna in chilli oil is my favourite.
  • Seeds, including chia, sunflower, pepitas, sesame, LSA mix.
  • Tahini. Amazing as a dessert with melted dark chocolate, or mixed with lemon and salt for a salad dressing.
  • Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter, sesame oil.
  • Sugar free chocolate (Well Naturally No Added Sugar or Sweet Williams are great).
  • Homemade cakes, desserts, slices, biscuits.

I DRINK:

  • Unsweetened almond milk.
  • Coconut milk.
  • Black coffee and tea (or with a dash of full cream milk or almond milk).
  • Red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, vodka sodas. No cocktails.
  • Sugar free drinks occasionally, but I try not to make a habit of it.

I STAY AWAY FROM:

  • Potato chips, corn chips, veggie chips. Nightmare for BGLs.
  • Starchy carbs. Hot chips, mashed potato, pies/pastries, breads, pizza, pasta, crackers.
  • Dried fruits, except occasionally small quantities of dates if mixed in with nuts such as in protein balls or baked into a cake.
  • Cakes, biscuits, anything sweet from a cafe even if it claims to be healthy.
  • Sugary chocolate bars and lollies.
  • Ice cream.
  • White sugar, brown sugar, fruit sugar, any sugar.
  • Honey or maple syrup (unless in very small quantities in baking).
  • Fruit juices.
  • Smoothies (unless I make them at home myself with almond milk. berries, Greek yoghurt).
  • Cocktails.
  • Cereals. Make your own low carb granola or chia porridge.

WHAT I HAVE IN MY PANTRY:

  • Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil.
  • Vinegars, soy sauce, chilli sauce.
  • Lots of spices and herbs.
  • Tea and coffee.
  • Tinned beans, legumes and chickpeas.
  • Almond meal, coconut flour, LSA mix, flaxmeal.
  • Baking powder, gelatine.
  • Dark chocolate.
  • Nuts.
  • Nut butters, tahini.
  • Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.

WHAT I HAVE IN MY FRIDGE:

  • Cheese.
  • Eggs.
  • Lots of veggies.
  • Berries.
  • Olives and other antipasto things such as artichokes, grilled capsicum.
  • Cold meats, such as salami, ham.
  • Bacon.
  • Bottles of soda water.
  • Limes and lemons.
  • Butter.
  • Insulin.

WHAT I HAVE IN MY FREEZER:

  • Sugar free ice cream.
  • Meats including steak, chicken, fish, paleo sausages.
  • Frozen berries.
  • Leftovers.
  • A loaf of lower carb Herman Brot bread.

A NOTE FOR THE VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS:

I totally respect veggies and vegans. As an animal lover, I do believe we eat too much meat for our own good (and for the sake of the animals themselves). I try to be mindful of how much meat, dairy and eggs I’m eating. I try to eat a veggie meal at least once a day and try to alternate a meat day with a meat free day if I can. Eating low carb can be restricting at times, particularly when you’re trying to eat less meat, but it doesn’t need to be. There is still a healthy range of veggies you can eat and a great variety of vegetarian recipes. It’s why I haven’t completely cut out foods like lentils and beans and some veggies. I try to have a good balance. It’s easy enough to substitute butter for coconut oil or another oil such as olive, macadamia or avocado. Eat lots of nuts and add some chickpeas or seeds to a salad. Fry up some tofu to go with a stir fry instead of chicken or beef. While I rely on eggs a lot, I try to be mindful of where they’ve come from, and always buy the true free range varieties (and often have the eggs from the backyard). I buy free range meat and sustainable meat if I can, and I’m mindful that when I eat out it’s not always going to be free range.

Satay courgetti

I know peanut butter sounds odd to pair with courgetti stir fry, but trust me on this one. The combination of peanuts with soy, garlic, ginger, chilli and lime is awesome. It’s basically a low carb, low sugar satay sauce alternative.

SERVES 4
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 12g / fat 12g / protein 8g

INGREDIENTS
4 large zucchini (courgettes)
1 carrot
1 small red onion
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon chilli sauce or chilli (fresh or dried)
4 tablespoons natural peanut butter (100% peanuts)
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
Juice of 1/2-1 lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or honey (optional)
Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (optional)

SPIRALISE, GRATE, PEEL, SLICE, CRUSH, MIX, CHOP, HEAT, ADD, COOK, MIX, STIR, SERVE…
Spiralise the zucchini (courgette) and grate the carrots. Peel and finely slice the red onion, peel and crush the garlic, and peel and finely grate the ginger. Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, juice of half the lime, chilli and coconut sugar or honey together. Roughly chop the coriander and set aside.

Heat a large pan or wok over medium heat with a splash of sesame oil. Add the courgettes and carrot. Cook until softened for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Add another small splash of sesame oil and add the onions, cooking for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the mix of peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli, lime juice and coconut sugar and mix together with the onion, garlic and ginger. Return the zucchini and carrots to the pan. Any liquid from the zucchini is fine to add in as it will help to loosen up the sauce which will be quite thick. Stir in and heat through. Taste for flavour and adjust as needed. Serve immediately with some fresh coriander and a wedge of the remaining lime.

peanutnoodles5

Pesto courgetti

Pesto is the go-to low carb, high fat, ketogenic pairing with almost anything savoury. I plonk it on just about anything, salad, tuna, eggs, low carb wraps and crackers, steak, chicken, through courgetti. It’s also gluten free and vegetarian. Use fresh ingredients and good oil. Use your own judgement with the olive oil. I pour it in until it reaches the consistency I like, which can be anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 a cup. You can either use a mini food processor or pound everything up in a mortar and pestle. You can store the pesto in the fridge for up to a week if you don’t use it all up in one go. 

SERVES 4
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE WITH ZUCCHINI
carbs 3g / fat 50g / protein 10g

INGREDIENTS
3 handfuls fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (or other nut of your choice)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1/2 clove of garlic (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 zucchini (courgette) per person

BLEND, ADD, GRATE, STIR, SPIRALISE…
Peel and mince or dice up the garlic. Blend the basil leaves and the garlic together. Add the pine nuts and blend. Grate the parmesan in, add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice (optional), and stir in the olive oil.

Spiralise or julienne peel the zucchini to make courgetti. Heat a large pan with a splash of olive oil and cook in the pan for about 7 minutes until softened.

Stir the pesto through the courgetti and serve.

pesto2

Green veggie frittata

Super healthy, low carb, and full of green veggies and protein, this slice makes a very healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Feel free to add in other green veggies, such as asparagus, or omit anything you don’t like. This slice goes really nicely with a crisp, crunchy salad and a creamy dressing (see my recipe below).

Green veggie slice
MAKES 6 SLICES
NUTRITION INFO PER SLICE
carbs 4g / fat 13g / protein 12g

INGREDIENTS
1 small onion or spring onion
1 small leek
2 cloves of garlic
2 big handfuls of spinach or kale
1/2 cup green peas
1 zucchini
1/2 head of broccoli
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cream (or milk)
1/2 cup cheese of your choice (such as cheddar, parmesan, feta, ricotta)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
6 free range eggs

CUT, STEAM, SLICE, DICE, GRATE, HEAT, SAUTE, ADD, CRACK, WHISK, GRATE, MIX, POUR, BAKE…
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a tray with baking paper, or grease with a little butter.

Wash and cut the broccoli into florets and steam in a colander over boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. In the meantime, slice the spring onions. wash and dice the leeks, grate the zucchini, and peel and crush the garlic.

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and saute the onions, leeks and garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add the grated zucchini, spinach or kale, broccoli and peas (frozen is fine). Saute for a few more minutes until the veggies have softened.

In the meantime, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the cream. Add salt and pepper. Grate the cheese in. Mix together with the veggies and pour into the tin. If you want more eggs, simply add more in!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Serve as it is or with a side of salad. See my recipe for a crunchy salad with a healthy creamy dressing below.

Green veggie slice
CRUNCHY SALAD
1 cos or romanesco lettuce
1 celery stick
4 radishes
1/2 a fennel bulb

CREAMY DRESSING
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Chop the lettuce and finely slice the celery, radish and fennel. Mix the yoghurt, juice of the lemon, mustard, and salt and pepper together.

 

 

Cauliflower cheese

This has to be one of the most amazing things in the world when you’re on a low carb diet. Pair it with a medium-rare rib eye and it’s probably the most delicious dinners out. Maybe flick on some greens on the side to make this a more balanced meal. It’s also very easy to whip up, and is low carb and high fat to keep you full and satisfied without blood sugar spikes, as well as gluten free and full of veg. You can leave out the bacon if you’re going veg or just want to cut down on the amount of saturated fats in this; but trust me, the bacon flavour makes all the difference. 

SERVES 6
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 4g / fat 25g / protein 12g

INGREDIENTS
1 cauliflower
1 cup of cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
4 rashers of bacon (optional)

CHOP, BOIL, DICE, PEEL, CRUSH, FRY, ADD, POUR, COAT, TASTE, BAKE, SERVE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Get out a baking dish and set aside.

Wash and chop up the cauliflower into florets and boil/steam in a pot with a little boiling water at the bottom for about 5-10 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime, dice up the bacon and peel the garlic. Fry the bacon in its own fat until crispy. Crush and add the garlic when the bacon is nearly done and cook for a minute. Turn down the heat and add in the cream, cheese, mustard and pepper. Stir through and turn off the heat.

Pour over the cauliflower and coat well. Taste for flavour and add salt and pepper as needed. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly golden and bubbling. Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley if you like, or serve as it is. Can be enjoyed on its own or on the side of some meat or veg.

cauli mac and cheese

Bacon and egg bites

Very easy to make for breakfast the night before so you’re ready to go in the morning. It’s a simple and easy way to eat bacon and eggs, and a high protein, low carb way to start the day.

MAKES 6
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SERVE
carbs 1g / fat 7g / protein 15g

INGREDIENTS
6 rashers of bacon
6 eggs
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh herbs (optional)

WRAP, CRISP, CRACK, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and get a muffin tin out. Very lightly grease the tin with a little butter or coconut oil. Wrap the bacon on the inside of each muffin tin. Place in the oven to crisp up the bacon a bit for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and crack in an egg in each muffin hole. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some chopped herbs of your choice.

Low carb blondies

This recipe has been adapted from All Day I Dream About Food Low Carb Browned Butter Choc Chip BlondiesIt has all the flavours of a choc chip cookies but the the texture of a soft brownie. No one can tell the difference that this is sugar free, gluten free and low carb.

MAKES 12
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER SQUARE
carbs 4g / fat 21.5g / protein 5g

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup (125g) butter, melted
2 cups almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g chopped 70% dark chocolate
1/2 cup xylitol or other sweetener
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MELT, MIX, PRESS, BAKE…
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a lamington or sheet tray with some baking paper.

Mix the almond meal, baking powder and sweetener together. Combine with the melted butter, egg and vanilla extract. Mix well before stirring in the chopped chocolate so it doesn’t melt into the mix.

Press into a lined lamington tin and bake for 20 minutes.

blondie

Bolognese sauce

Serve this versatile sauce with some zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for a low carb pasta, or turn this into a low carb lasagne with roast vegetables. 

INGREDIENTS
1 large onion (brown or red)
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
2 celery sticks
500 grams mince beef
2 rashers of bacon or pancetta (optional)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Generous pinch of salt
Good crack of black pepper
Sprinkling of chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup wine (white or red)
A splash of olive oil

Peel and finely dice the onion, peel and finely crush the garlic, peel and finely dice the carrot, and take the ends of the celery and finely dice.

In a large saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil and saute the onion, celery and carrot together for a few minutes. Add the mince and diced bacon/pancetta with the garlic, salt, pepper, chilli, oregano. Allow to brown for a few minutes, using the wooden spoon to break up the mince. Add in the wine and saute for another minute. Add the tinned tomatoes and bay leaves, stir, and let it simmer on low heat for up to an hour. Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper/chilli according to your taste.

bolognese3

bolognese2

Cheesy sauce

This makes a good dip with veggies and cauliflower poppers. It’s also a great sauce for cauliflower cheese and a good a bechamel sauce substitute for low carb lasagne and moussaka. 

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of cream cheese, marscapone or feta
2 tablespoons cream
A crack of black pepper
A dash of nutmeg (optional)
A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

MIX, HEAT, SEASON…
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Stir together for 5 minutes or until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and a little nutmeg and cayenne pepper for some added flavour.