How did 2016 sneak up on us? I have been meaning to write an update for months, but busy family schedules just kept pushing it back. It’s also a case of “no news is good news,” because Nora is happily humming along with her Modified Atkins-style diet, growing and learning and being her true self.
In our last diet update about 9 months ago, we were still holding carbs to 40 g per day and weighing carb foods on the gram scale to make sure that we were not exceeding that limit, but allowing unlimited protein and fat and not calculating the ratio anymore. Now we are not weighing anything (except for making a few recipes where I still find it easier to weigh than to measure in volume, but it is rare).
We are thinking of this as the long-term maintenance phase of Nora’s diet and have taught her to eat by a simple rule: If you have a sweet food, like fruit, match it with a protein/fat food, like cheese or nuts. We are so fortunate that she has made her food choices part of her identity. I don’t worry about her cheating when she is out of our sight. She goes to friends’ houses to play and I know she will make good choices. She is making new friends and I realized that I forgot to tell the parents about her diet limitations on the first visit. We are also fortunate that we live in a time when people are very sensitive to food allergies and don’t question food limitations, and sometimes even ask up-front.
Nora still does not get foods with added refined sugar or other starchy foods, like crackers. Gluten-free is a good rule of thumb, but many gluten-free foods are full of just another kind of starch and are not a good choice, and conversely, her low-carb tortillas do have wheat in them. A rule of thumb that I follow for meal choices is to look for paleo products and recipes because they tend to be lower carb, while still reading labels. We are also fortunate to live in a time when there are so many healthy low-carb options at our fingertips.
Nora still feels like she is on a special diet, just a bit, but because of the many special diets in the world she doesn’t feel like such an oddball. I still make fancy cupcakes and store them in her school’s freezer in the teachers’ break room, so that if the class has a birthday celebration she has something special too. She doesn’t seem to mind at all and had one last week–the only evidence I had of it was the wrapper that came home. I send along a treat to a birthday party, or pack extra healthy snack for her and friends if they have a playdate. For her birthday, we made 3-layered fruit popsicles for her backyard pool party with no added sugar. We are finding lots of things that work for everyone now that her diet is so much more relaxed. Nora’s food is still part of daily life, but it is much easier than before and the rest of life has taken over our time and energy.
She also has very fond memories of her special diet. Just last weekend, she took the Keto Cookbook off the shelf and was reminiscing about foods that she wants to make again and wanted to try some recipes that we had never tried! That book was such a gift to us when we first started. I remember lying in bed with Nora after we got it, looking at the pictures of the food that we could make on her special diet. She could imagine pretty delicious things and be excited about food.
One new recipe that Nora and friends like is this Paleo Lemon Bread, adapted from Good Morning Paleo by Jane Barthelemy. I picked it up at the library–it has several good ideas for breakfast and lunch. This comes together quickly in the food processor, but you can mix by hand as well. They freeze well so we make a big batch and take them out as special snacks for a trip or outing with friends. She is still devoted to her MAD About Granola with half and half for breakfast, which is one recipe I still make religiously, twice per month.
Paleo Lemon Bread
Makes 24 servings
Ratio: ~1:1, 4.8 carbs/serving
1.5 cups (170 g) almond meal/four
1 tsp (5 g) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt
3/4 cup (200 g) Coconut Butter
5 large (250 g) eggs
1/3 cup (80 g) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 g) apple cider vinegar
2 tsp (9 g) Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup (85 g) honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If using mini-loaf pans, line with parchment paper. Or set out 24 silicone muffin cups to bake.
Place almond meal, baking soda and salt in food processor, pulse to combine. To measure the coconut butter: it will be solid at room temperature, so scoop out to measure by weight, or melt it by warming in the microwave or in a bowl of warm water to measure out 3/4 cup. Add to almond flour mixture and combine well. Add eggs, again pulse to combine. Measure the remaining liquid ingredients in a separate bowl (it can help to warm the honey also), and add to the food processor. Combine all into a thick batter.
Bake in 2 mini-loaf pans 20-25 minutes or in 24 muffin cups for 15-20 minutes. Remove when slightly brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
If you want to reduce the carbs, reduce or eliminate the honey and add no-carb sweetener. You can also add a few berries to each muffin before baking for an extra pop of flavor.