That is the name of the handshake reporter Steve Warden taught Autumn when he visited our home last year to write this story on the Ketogenic Diet for The Journal Gazette.
Steve, pictured here with Autumn toasting victory over seizures with sugar laden Jamocha shakes, recently ran a great follow-up story in The Journal Gazette which you can read here.* Steve has a soft heart, a sensitive soul and is a skilled storyteller.
Before walking out the door of our home last year, Steve said to let us know when Autumn was off the diet so we could (hopefully) get together for “Pancakes and French Fries.” So, along with those Jamocha shakes, we had “Cowboy Fries”… french fries smothered with cheese and bacon…all hands full…yummmm!
We’ll have to have him back again for the pancakes. 😉
And for anyone reading this on the keto-diet – you can actually make your own keto version of french fries and jamocha shakes – now that’s…
… Keto Joy!
*A small correction in the article, although I like the name “Chad”, it was actually “Joshua” who did the prayer.
The girls and I were in Colorado Springs last week for a Thanksgiving visit with Kyle, Hope and my Max Man. Although I had wanted to do a Thanksgiving post, I was a bit distracted…
Getting ready to decorate…
A visit to Vail
Check out those shoes – everyone else in Vail Village did!
A view from the beautifully exquisite Broadmoor Hotel:
That is a 100% real candy gingerbread house behind us!
There is one picture missing that I wish I did have, and that would be of myself getting off the plane when we landed in Colorado Springs. I had been extremely nervous about the airplane flight…I barely slept the night before. I was worried that perhaps the higher altitude and the air pressure of the plane might cause Autumn to have a seizure.
All throughout the flight I felt like I was back two and a half years ago…. waiting…and holding my breath… to see if she was going to have “another one.”
I breathe again.
Oh, the relief I felt as I hugged her getting off the plane…I may not have a picture…but I will never forget the feeling.
And I give thanks…continually! 🙂
Photo by Samuel Hoffman
Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Autumn’s last EEG back in February of this year, while she was still on the diet, did not include all the elements that are used to trigger seizures – yesterday’s EEG did. This included flashing strobe lights, inducing breathing hyperventilation and sleep deprivation. Our neurologist said she wanted to know – and that we would want to know – for sure what these results would really show after 3 months off the diet.
My palms were sweating sitting next to Autumn watching the entire process.
Towards the end of the test, Dr. Kahn, our neurologist, peeked in to see how things were going and I stepped out to talk with her. We went into a room right next door to Autumn and she pulled up the the EEG results on the computer. She brought up screen after screen of Autumn’s brain waves. As she is scrolling through the pages, I am imagining in my mind what all those lines might mean. Then she utters these words:
Our family went out for lunch today for the first time in over two years (well, a family of 10 never went out to lunch much any way 😉 ….to a restaurant…an all-you-can-eat restaurant….that also included ice cream.
It was Autumn’s pick:
How does a former full-time keto kid(are we really in the former category?!) – a kid that had to measure every gram – sometimes to the tenth of a gram – of food she put in her mouth for every meal, go to a smorgasbord?
From a mother’s viewpoint? With a mixture of excitement…and anxiousness.
We have slowly been weaning off the diet since February of this year. Over the last month we have not weighed or measured a thing. Autumn has primarily been eating “whole foods” with very limited sugar and gluten-free.
Even today, she stayed pretty true to her “whole foods” diet (can’t say that for the rest of the family 😉
but she did have a dish of ice cream…. with a few sprinkles.
I am sure that I feel like every parent who has ever taken their child off the ketogenic diet –
nervous, but relieved; excited but cautious.
We are now transitioning to another way of eating – again one that is geared more towards whole foods.
We have been working on many more recipes that are also grain-free and sugar-free that I am hoping to get time to post in the near future. We have learned so much and continue to learn more each day.
You can’t have a day like today without being filled with gratitude and thanks to so many.
“I give thanks to God of every rememberance of all of you!”
To any of you who are reading this and just starting the diet…please be encouraged…little by little…gram by gram…keep pressing on!
Click here for the recipe for the Asian salad I posted the other day. This is so good!
A few comments on the recipe:
Follow the word directions – the gram amounts she listed did not make sense when I tried to measure it.
For the dressing: I did not use that much garlic – way too much for us! When I have been in a hurry, I just use garlic and ginger powder.
I subbed stevia for the Swerve.
I subbed Coconut Aminos for the soy sauce.
I had never bought a Napa cabbage before – it is much sweeter than regular cabbage. I took off the larger outer leaves and then cut it finely:
You can either put your veggies in the food processor or cut them by hand. I was in a hurry and just cut up what I had on hand. Remember we are now in a “low carb” mode, and not strict keto, so peas and carrots can be used.
These are the items I used for the dressing – again when I am in hurry I just use garlic and ginger powder:
I missed putting the stevia in the last picture:
But there is no missing the joy that Autumn Joy has when eating this salad!
Basically Excitotoxins are food additives that kill your brain cells, and these additives are in MANY of the products we eat – especially those chips kids love to eat, all that diet soda everyone gulps down, Chinese food, mexican food (sorry to say, but Taco Bell products are loaded with the stuff 😦 ) and lots of salad dressings, soups and seasonings. Think MSG and Nutrasweet/aspartame.
“There are a growing number of clinicians and basic scientists who are convinced that a group of compounds called excitotoxins play a critical role in the development of several neurological disorders including migraines, seizures, infections, abnormal neural development, certain endocrine disorders, neuropsychiatric disorders, learning disorders in children, AIDS dementia, episodic violence, lyme borreliosis, hepatic encephalopathy, specific types of obesity, and especially the neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and olivopontocerebellar degeneration.(1)”
Food manufacturers know that consumers are aware of the main names of excitotoxins, chiefly MSG and Aspartame, so they have started ‘re-naming” them. Dr. Blaylock gives us a partial list of the most common names for disguised MSG. Remember also that the powerful excitotoxins, aspartate [in NutraSweet®] and L-cysteine, are frequently added to foods and according to FDA rules require no labeling at all.
Additives that always contain MSG:
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Plant Protein Extract
Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
Additives that frequently contain MSG:
Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring
Additives that may contain MSG and/or other excitotoxins:
Carrageeenan Enzymes (Protease enzymes from various sources can release excitotoxin amino acids from food proteins.)
Soy Protein Concentrate
Soy Protein Isolate Whey
So what are you to do when you want great taste, but you also want to keep your brain cells?
Although there is probably no way for the average person to avoid all forms of excitotoxins, it is still a good idea to be aware of their existence and try to find healthier choices.
First, check out the Resource Page which lists some helpful products – especially alternatives for Nutrasweet and Splenda.
Here are a few more suggestions:
First, when you are looking for something for your asian dishes, instead of soy sauce, or even Bragg’s liquid aminos (which some health advocates use as an alternative, but Blaylock would say is an excitotoxin) try:
Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos.
I love the flavor of this stuff – and so does Autumn. We make a great asian salad that I am hoping to post soon and it is fabulous! Here is a picture of it:
Secret Organic Raw Coconut Aminos Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce. When the coconut tree is tapped it produces a highly nutrient-rich “sap” that exudes from the coconut blossoms. This sap is raw, very low glycemic, an abundant source of 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. A comparison between coconut tree sap and soy, shows that coconut sap contains 2-14 times the amino acid content of soy. Small batches ensure that our organic, low glycemic Coconut Aminos, made from this natural sap, is a raw enzymatically alive product aged and blended with sun dried, mineral-rich sea salt, hand gatheredfrom pristine waters near the southern islands of the Philippine coast. Features: Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce. 65% Less Sodium than Soy Sauce. High Source of Liquid Aminos. 100% Organic. Gluten-Free. Dairy-Free. GMO-Free. Coconut aminos
Most seasoning and salad dressing have some form of msg in them. Following are 3 do-it-yourself spice mixes that, yes they take a few minutes to prepare, but you can enjoy every bite knowing you are not killing anything!
Taco Seasoning Mix
I love the taste of this seasoning – more than any store bought one. I use it on anything “Mexican” – like taco salad – Yum!
(This recipes comes from Set for Life – a cookbook that I have had for many years – it is NOT a keto or low carb resource, but the mixes are good.)
1/3 cup dry minced onion
2 Teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons Chili poder
2 Tablespoon Paprika (I use about 1 ½ T.)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin (I use a bit less)
½ teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons Flour (I use almond flour)
A bit of sweetener if desired, ( I use a pinch of stevia, a little truvia, thm sweet blend or you could use sugar, if diet always)
Mix ingredients, I mix them in a blender, and place in a container and store in a cool dry place.
2-3 tablespoons equal 1 package seasoning mix.
Salad Dressing Mix
This past year, a friend of mine (Thanks, Susan!), gave me salad dressing mixes for my birthday and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.
Her directions are to mix 2 Tablespoon of the spices with:
¼ vinegar – Red Wine or apple cider
½ cup oil – I use olive oil, but you could use coconut oil. Remember that if you use NON virgin coconut oil, you will not have the coconut taste.
2 teaspoons water.
I think 2 Tablespoons is a bit too much so I only use 1 – again, just experiment to see what you like!
As far as broth goes, nothing beats homemade bone broths and they are so amazingly good for your health! Bone broths are worthy of a post of their own, so hopefully I will get to that soon. The main point here that I would like to make is that almost all bouillon cubes and soup mixes have msg in them- it is just such a bummer! Here are a few broth powder recipes you can try:
(This Is from Miserly Meals by Jonni McCoy)
1 Cup Nutritional Yeast*
3T. onion powder
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. salt 1 tsp. celery seed
2 T. Italian seasoning
2 T. dried parsely
1/ tsp pepper
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. tarragon
1 tsp. paprika
Place all ingredients in a blender, cover and blend for 3-4 seconds. Store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months (I put mine in the fridge for a longer shelf life.
To use; Add 1 Tablespoon to a cup of hot water for a cup of soup, or stock.
Conversion note: Two teaspoons of this recipe plus 1/2 teaspoon of salt is the equivalent to 1 bouillon cube.
*(Nutritonal yeast, also know as brewers yeast, is a nutritional product eaten for its high content of B vitamins, amino acids and protein. It is not to be confused or used in the same way as baking yeast)
Onion Soup Mix #1
(Again from Miserly Meals)
2 1/4 cups dried minced onion
1 Cup broth powder (See above recipe)
1/4 cup onion powder
3/4 tsp. celery seed
3/4 teaspoon sugar – sub out for stevia or sweetener of choice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and store- or put in a large mason jar and shake up.
To use this recipe where a 1.25 ounce envelope of purchased onion soup mix is required, use 1/3 up of this mix
I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I have a friend who recommended it and it is a bit quicker to throw it together:
2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 -2 teaspoons turmeric( You may want to omit this as turmeric can be really strong in flavor – although it is great for reducing inflammation.)
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sucanat (or sugar if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake. I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.
Use 2-4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.
One other product I would like to mention is Beanitos. When we were able to lower Autumn’s ratio, we could add a few of these chips in. (You would probably not be able to include these on a higher ratio) I have contacted the company personally and they have assured me they do not use any type of msg or yeast extract at all. These are a great replacement for Doritos!
With soda you have 2 choices – Regular soda, which is filled with sugar and we all know the problem with that. There is an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States. A study done last year showed that even just one can of soda a day can increase your chance of type 2 diabetes by 22%. So what about diet soda? Well, most are sweetened with aspartame – which Dr. Mercola states is “the most dangerous substance added to foods today” – Yikes! There are so many studies on the side effects of aspartame – if you google it you will get millions of results. Over 30 years ago, when I was a youngster working at Pizza Hut, I worked with a guy whose dad was a brain surgeon and he said, “If people knew what that stuff did to the inside of their brains, they would never touch the stuff.”
Think of all the aspartame-laden products that are labeled “sugar-free” that moms are feeding their children…thinking they are helping them …so sad
If you have no weight or health issues, an occasional soda is probably not going to destroy your health (although I’d stay away from the diet soda!) …but there are a few healthier options available.
We don’t have soda often in our home – sometimes for birthdays. So when Autumn first started the diet and wanted to have something as well, we came up with a great beverage – bubbling club soda(carbonated water) and liquid stevia drops.
There are many different flavors you can choose from:
Just add a few drops to your soda. If you like it a bit sweeter, just add a small pinch of stevia or a bit of truvia or thm sweet blend.
There are also a few brands of stevia/erythritol sweetened sodas that have recently showed up on the grocery shelves at our Kroger. Autumn really likes the Honest Fizz. Although these are a bit on the expensive side, they are helpful to have on hand for a “special event” or for a special outing.
Zevia is another option as well:
Although, ice cold water is often the most refreshing!
So in all these foods….give your brain a break…and enjoy live brain cells!
This is the one we made last night – Jamocha Almond Fudge:
There is a website called, “All day I dream about Food” and I must say, her pictures make me dream about making the food she posts!
Although it is not a ketogenic diet blog – it is low carb – and I thought it might be a good link to share to give some ideas for different flavors for ice cream. For higher ratios, just use more cream. I don’t use all the ingredients she lists, but it gives a good base for ideas. I personally do not like using “Swerve” for a sweetener because it leaves a “cooling effect” on the tongue, but others might like it. Click here and here to see previous ketoJoy yummifiable ice cream/shake posts.
I do use the Cuisinart ice cream maker. It works really well for making one batch at a time. It can make up to 2 quarts at a time) at a time. I have tried running batches back to back, but the second batch never really gets thick enough.
Autumn didn’t feel like waiting for the ice cream to harden for 2 hours….so she just jumped right in after swimming!
Yes it really tastes as good as it looks! And some of my kids think it tastes better than the traditional one filled with sugar!
As we have continued to wean further off the diet, there are two things I have not yet allowed in – grains with gluten and sugar. And neither one is needed to make this amazingly scrumptious pie! Thankfully, strawberries are one of the lowest carb fruits, and the majority of the pie is mostly made of fats, so it works well.
The crust it is made with almond flour (or ground almonds), or ground pecans, if you need a higher ratio.
Click here for the link to see how mini pie crusts are made.
If you would like to make a full size pie that the whole family can enjoy, use approximately:
1 1/2 cups almond flour or ground pecans, about 3 T. butter, no-sugar sweetener of choice(Truvia or stevia) and a pinch of vanilla. Mix ingredients and press in sprayed pie pan. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
For the filling:
You will need about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of strawberries – depending on how many strawberries you like in your pie.
I probably used about 2 1/2 pounds. Take about 1 1/2 to 2 cups strawberries and place in a blender with sweetener of choice – it would be about 2 T. ground truvia or maybe 1/2 tsp of stevia – remember stevia exact is really powerful and if you use too much it will taste awful. Always start with just a little! Add a sprinkle of salt and mix in blender until it becomes a liquid juice. Check the sweetness of the mixture, add more if desired. Then add about 1/2 teaspooon of glucoamannon – this is a zero carb, no grain thickener. This is not typically found in stores. I order it through Amazon. It is not cheap but it will last for a long, long, time because you don’t use much at a time. For more information on the health benefits of glucomannon click here. You will want to sprinkle it in really slowly, almost like a salt shaker, so that it mixes well and does not get lumpy. Let the blender run for several minutes to allow mixture to thicken.
Pour mixture over strawberries, then pour coated strawberries into baked pie crust (Pictures shown here were for several mini pies). If your strawberries are large you can cut them up in smaller pieces before covering with glaze. Let chill for 2 hours.
If you are making just a mini pie, use as many strawberries as would be allowed on your ratio. Use a small amount of those berries to make “glaze.” Then add just a small amount of glucomannon as well.
When ready to serve, whip up however much whip cream you like, or need, depending on your ratio. You can really get lots of fat calories here in a yummy amount! Sweeten with your choice of stevia/truvia. And cover your pie with it!