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Around the second week of the new year, I decided to go Keto. It sounded like a good idea at the time, and never truly doing it before, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. Oh boy, it sure has been difficult for my natural sweet tooth to stay away from the sugar!

What Is Keto?

Gina holding a keto plateKeto has gained lots of popularity recently, so much so that even food manufactures have started advertising their food as “keto friendly” or “keto approved”. But what does it actually mean to “go keto?”

Keto is short for ketogenic, and a keto diet puts your body into a state ketosis. What does that mean? Basically, by eating a diet high in fat, moderate protein and low in carbs, you train your body to start using fat as fuel instead of carbs (sugars).

The Benefits Of Going Keto

The reason people love this diet is because you are able to eat satisfying healthy fats, and still lose the weight! It’s a win-win! But weight loss is just one of the benefits.

According to Dr. Mercola, eating keto helps to reduce your insulin resistance (the problem all diabetics have) not only reducing your risk of diabetes, but also making it easier to keep the weight off. Eating keto also helps to reduce your risk for developing some big health concerns like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Keto sounds pretty good right about now, doesn’t it? It sure did to me as I was first starting out. However, within my first week, I was having some serious sugar cravings. This is because your body literally gets hooked and addicted to sugar, just like a drug.Since then, I have adopted a Keto/Paleo style of eating that focuses on nutrient dense, healing foods. I have had my accidental, and not so accidental 😉 cheat days, but so far, I have been very pleased with the results.

While I have only lost about 7 pounds to date, I have experienced some great health wins such as increased, consistent energy and stamina. Who wouldn’t love that?!

Health Benefits of Keto Without all the sugar circulating in my blood stream, I have noticed I don’t get that mid-afternoon slump like I used to. It’s also been much easier getting up earlier, plus I feel rested when waking and  not so groggy.

You see, I’m the guy that used to put about a tablespoon or more of sugar in my coffee. While that might not sound like much, multiply that times a few cups a day every day, and it certainly does add up considerably! Since ditching the sugar, I have also noticed a big reduction in inflammation in my body. Mainly, in my head and neck.

I typically get a neck ache that would lead to a headache 3-5 days a week (that is an unfortunate result of being rear ended in a car accident two years ago). Since cutting out the sugar though, I can feel a reduction in the chronic inflammation in my neck, and now, might get 1-2 neckache/headaches a week.

Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Keto

So going keto certainly has many other benefits than just weight loss. However, there are pitfalls within keto that you should be aware of.

  1. Avoid Cheap Food

When folks go keto, it involves eating lots of fats! Often times, these keto recipes will call for lots of dairy fats and fattier meats. While there is nothing wrong with eating these things on a keto diet, if you are buying the factory farmed meats and dairy, you will lose the weight, but your health may suffer in other ways.

Keto WingsThese store bought meat and dairy products are usually chocked full of antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones. If you are going to go and make this drastic change to your diet, don’t you want to make sure you are getting nothing but benefits, with no draw backs?

At the very least, go organic. According to the Cornucopia Institute,  while buying dairy from your local farm is ideal, if you can’t do so, buy organic dairy.  Organic dairy has been found to have significantly lower levels of pesticide, hormone and antibiotic levels when compared to its conventional counterpart.

When it comes to meat, once again, you can take your chances on the “organic” or “all natural” meats. But are you really getting what you are paying for? That’s why we openly invite folks out to our farm to look around and see for themselves how we raise our animals. That provides further confidence to our family of customers, that they are getting clean, healthy and nutrient dense food.

  1. Read The Label

As I mentioned earlier, lots of food makers are putting marketing dollars towards the keto movement. “Keto friendly” and “Keto approved” are terms getting printed onto all kinds of energy bars and protein shakes. But just because it’s keto approved doesn’t make it healthy for you.

Lots of these products will have preservatives and additives in there that are not healthy for you. To address the same point as before, if you are going to make this drastic life change, don’t you want to get all the benefits and no draw backs?

So read the labels, and find those food makers that are not only keto approved, but also free from all the added junk. Or better yet… cook your own food! That’s one way to know exactly what is going into it!

  1. Avoid The Sugars

Another big mistake you can make when going keto is being lax when it comes to sugar. Remember, when you go keto, the way you lose weight is you train your body to burn the fat instead of sugar.

So what happens if you keep on with that sugar in your coffee, or that bread we all have such a hard time parting with? Your body switches back to trying to burn sugar for fuel instead of fat. Then all that extra fat you’ve been eating starts getting stored instead of burned for fuel. So your keto diet then turns into a fat storage program! Not what you want!

Also be mindful of fruit and starchy vegetables, like potatoes. Fruit has naturally occurring sugars that will work against you, and your body will convert starches like those found in potatoes to sugar.

Keto is an awesome way to lose weight by cutting sugar out of your diet, and when that sugar is cut out, trust me, you will feel the difference! Here is an easy paleo/keto friendly meal that we prepare regularly at the farm. This will give you the chance to see if keto or keto/paleo is right for you!

Easy Keto/Paleo Bowls With Garlic Aioli

Bowl Ingredients:Easy Keto Bowl Ingredients

  • 4-6 Chicken breasts
  • 5 Medium sized sweet potatoes (for keto/paleo version)
  • 12oz Frozen broccoli (or you can use fresh)
  • 8oz kale or spinach + lard for stir frying
  • 3Tbsp each olive oil and Butter

Garlic Aioli Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup mayo
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2tsp each salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 fahrenheit. Wash your sweet potatoes and then stab with a fork a few times, and then set them to bake uncovered on a baking sheet for approximately 45 mins, or until a fork slides smoothly into potatoes. Then remove your sweet potatoes from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, you will want to peel back the sweet potato skins, and then cut the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces.

Cooking Pastured Chicken Breasts

Cooking Pastured Chicken Breasts

Next, place the olive oil and butter into a large skillet, and put on medium-high heat on the stove top. Once the pan is heated, proceed to cook your chicken breast, approximately 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. You can always slice the breast in half to test and make sure it is fully cooked. Set aside and let rest, and once cooled, cut the breasts into bite sized pieces.

Once your chicken is cooked, wash your kale or spinach if it’s not already washed.. If using kale, you may also wish to de-spine the leaves. Take the same skillet that you cooked the chicken and put in 3-4 tablespoons of lard, place on high heat on the cook top, and stir fry your greens. You may like to sprinkle with salt and pepper for extra flavor, and you can cook to your desired doneness.Frying Kale in Lard

For the broccoli, you can cook it however you wish, our preference is to toss in olive oil with salt and pepper, and place it on a baking sheet in the oven at 425 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

For the aioli: simply place all the garlic aioli ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 15-20 seconds.

TIP: Not everybody may be doing keto in your family, and that may leave you with the opportunity to make this dish go even further by adding in black or brown rice to the bowls. We like to simply add some steamed black rice for those not doing keto in our family. It’s not keto approved, but it will make this meal stretch further when there’s a lot of mouths to feed!

Easy Keto BowlTime to assemble! The easiest way to do this is to set up the individual ingredients buffet style, and then fill your dinner bowl with the chicken, broccoli, sweet potato and greens to your liking and appetite. Finish by drizzling your bowl with the garlic aioli sauce, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, fresh and simple keto/paleo dinner! Enjoy!