Over the past few years, the ketogenic diet has become extremely popular. Natural health experts such as Dr. Axe and Mercola have been singing its praises, and even Harvard Medical School has jumped on the keto bandwagon. Unlike most health trends and diets this one is popular with good reason because there's substantial research that supports the ketogenic diet for specific conditions. (Now if you're here just for these scrumptious keto squares, just scroll down to the bottom)
Let's get something out of the way first. I'm NOT going keto.
As you know, I hate labels and diets, but, and this is a big but, there are instances where the ketogenic diet would truly help someone who has a specific health condition whether that be type 2 diabetes or a brain tumour.
What is the keto diet?
Keto is a high fat (but the emphasis is on good fats ) and low carb way of eating. A traditional keto diet is 20 g of net carbs, whereas a more modest approach is anywhere from 30-50 g net carbs. ("Net" simply refers to the grams of fibre subtracted from the grams of carbs. So a medium mango might be 25 g of carbs but it's 21 g net carbs because there are 4 g of fibre. Make sense?) Doing that math is waaaay too much work for me personally, which is another reason I don't do keto. I love food too much, but, for many, keto has transformed their body, so I totally get why you would be committed to it.
When you eat this way, your body starts using body fat and dietary fat for energy as opposed to glucose from carbohydrates.
Essentially, you turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
It's not without side effects though. If you do get into a state of ketosis, for instance, you may have bad breath and smelly pee. You may also have the "keto flu" or just feel like garbage for a few days, especially if you've been eating the Standard American Diet for many years.
So why is it great?
The ketogenic diet is best known for its ability to help you lose weight and there is both animal and human research to support this claim. The research on balancing blood sugar and keeping insulin in check to manage or prevent Type 2 diabetes is also impressive. What excites me the most is that it has neuroprotective effects in both adults and children. In fact, this diet has been used since the 1920s to prevent seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Additionally, a keto diet is showing promising results for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
Should you go keto?
My short answer is no (unless it's warranted for any of the above conditions), but my good friend Meghan Telpner goes into it in more detail about her views and it's worth a read. I completely agree with her when she states that it's a "therapeutic diet," meaning, it can be extremely beneficial if you have a condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, metabolic syndrome or if you're obese. For the average person, it's a "diet" after all, and may not be necessary for you. So, my long answer to that question can be a yes but it's important to work with a natural health-care practitioner who can guide you towards a healthy keto diet.
I've been eating a diet rich in good fats for years now, it's not keto mind you!
Ever since I started ignoring what other people told me was best and started listening to my own body, I found that I felt best eating plenty of good fats.
But things change, too. When I became pregnant it didn't feel as good to eat as much fat. In fact, avocados kinda grossed me out – it was a texture thing. And salmon was completely off the table! I couldn't stomach the smell and the thought of eating even a bite of fish, no way! So, I listened to my body and adjusted the fats I was eating because fat is extremely important to the growth and development of a baby's brain and nervous system. Curious what my life was like when I didn't listen to my body? READ: these perceived health habits made me unhealthy.
Now that I'm no longer pregnant or breastfeeding, I'm back to eating tons of avocados and lots of fish. For example, for lunch today, I had a filet of salmon and sprinkled walnuts on my salad with a side of avocado and a fat-based salad dressing with extra-virgin olive oil.
For dessert I had these No-Bake Keto Coconut Almond Squares, which are likely the reason you're here today – to get the recipe no doubt! Vienna is a huge fan of them too! They are amazing. Like just as good as my Collagen Chocolate Chip Snowballs.
What makes these keto-friendly is that they are low carb, high fat and most importantly, they are absolutely delicious!! Plus, they are also gluten-free, paleo friendly, dairy free and vegan, meaning pretty much anyone can enjoy them. Eating one or two squares will have you completely satisfied. That's what good fat does - it turns OFF your hunger hormones.
Now if you don't want to use stevia or go to the trouble of trying to find monk fruit to sweeten these, you can use maple syrup, but they won't be keto then.
But honestly, if you're not on a keto diet, who cares! They are still rich in healthy fats and incredibly satiating! They also won't be keto if you drizzle them with just any old melted chocolate. You'll see my note in the recipe with some ideas.
*If you don't care to make these keto (I'm not keto) then make these with maple syrup instead. I use 2-3 tbsp of dark maple syrup.
Also for the chocolate drizzle, unless you're using chocolate chips sweetened with stevia or erythritol then they won't be keto.
These should be kept in the freezer for optimal freshness. They melt pretty quickly so serve them cold, directly from the freezer.
Are you interested in more keto recipes? Let me know because I've got more up my sleeve :) Some of my recipes are keto by default and I do have a "keto" category. I will continue to add to them for you.