A little about me and my KETO journey

Hi there! This is my story…..

a little about me and my keto journey
2017…still rubbish at posing for photos…

A food love affair

Born in 1963, I grew up surrounded by Italian food and beautiful, fresh, organic produce. After moving to the UK as a traumatised kid following a double family tragedy, my love for Italian cuisine continued. As soon as I was old enough to cope in the kitchen on my own, I taught myself how to make beautiful and tasty meals from scratch. My favourite dishes always featured plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. They also included home made pasta, pizza, bread, gnocchi, risottos and carbohydrate rich sauces. Not to mention cakes, biscuits and all sorts of sweet delights loaded with refined flour and bucket loads of sugar. Baking was my favourite activity.

It is safe to say that I was a true carb-aholic. I couldn’t even eat a salad without a box of breadsticks to go with it! I was convinced that my mostly home-cooked diet was the healthiest and best. Even my medical student text books said so, after all. When my children came along, I focussed even more on home cooking with fresh, unadulterated produce. I wanted them to grow up in a healthy way, on the high carb and low fat diet, in accordance with standard nutritional recommendations.

A cholesterol conundrum

I looked and felt healthy. My only medical issue was Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. My mum had had a heart attack at an early age and had died suddenly when I was just a small child. This had led to my being tested and diagnosed with FH. My cholesterol levels increased year after year. Relentlessly. To way off the scales. I was given a very short life expectancy (mid thirties at best) unless I took statins forever. That scared the hell out of me. Thinking of my two small children I started taking prescription statins and my cholesterol levels plummeted to ‘normal’ range. Phew! Or so I thought. Unfortunately, I began suffering with muscular pains and fatigue almost immediately. And it got progressively worse. Worryingly. As the heart is itself a muscle… 🙁

The dark side of statins

My GP refused time and time again to acknowledge any link between the pain and the statin drugs. He merely insisted that I should “take them or die”. So I continued to endure the pain that apparently was ‘all in my head’. Until a few years later, when statin side effects started to be recognised. I became curious after reading that the cholesterol link to heart disease was a total myth. That led me to read more and more on the subject. The more I read, the more I became convinced that  the whole theory of fat and heart disease was utter rubbish. Inevitably, I made the ultimate decision to stop taking statins, much against medical advice.

The myalgia disappeared almost immediately. I was pleasantly surprised and convinced I had made the right choice. But a worrying concern for my health kept niggling me. What if the doctors were right and I was a “ticking time bomb”?  What if I died suddenly and left my children without their mother when still so young? I didn’t want them to go through the hell I experienced in my own childhood. I kept banishing those thoughts to the back of my mind, though they kept creeping back to the forefront from time to time. So I continued to ‘watch’ my fats intake. Just in case.

a little about me and my keto journey
2016…vest and shorts are my staple summer wear…

The keto awakening

Then, a few years later, I had an epiphany: while reading about carbs, sugar, fat and metabolism I discovered the ketogenicdiet’ and its too-numerous-to-mention health benefits. It seemed impossible and inconceivable. But the more I read about it, the more it made sense. It dawned on me that I had got it completely wrong. Now it was time to reverse the damage.

I started the switch by firstly cutting out added sugar – and boy did I see the benefits immediately! Then I cut out my beloved carbohydrate-loaded foods and found yet more benefits – less cravings, more energy, better hair and skin, to name but a few. Then I started being selective about the fruit and vegetables I was eating, avoiding the starchy, higher carb ones. Well! It was never my intention, but as a side ‘benefit’ I lost a lot of weight in just 6 weeks. 5 whole kg to be precise, and since I started at 56 kg and I am 5’6″ tall, it did surprise me! The biggest benefit, the one I was aiming for all along, didn’t disappoint: my HDL cholesterol increased and my triglycerides took a dive into normal range, for the first time, ever. Mission accomplished. 

In all honesty, switching to a completely ketogenic lifestyle wasn’t easy for someone like me who gets easily bored of meat-and-two-veg type dishes. Learning to cook with ingredients I didn’t even know existed before (Erythritol, Agar Agar, Locust Bean Gum, Acacia Senegal, Protein Isolate….) was a massive task. Never mind my determination to re-create (well, attempting to) what I was used to, i.e. Italian classics and desserts that didn’t look or taste like cardboard!

Coping with carb cravings

There have been – and still are – times when the aroma of freshly baked pastries or the sight of a gorgeous pasta dish take me back in time and I reminisce fondly. But there is never temptation for me. Those thoughts disappear in a flash and all I can think about is how I might be able to recreate whatever I saw or smelled – the keto way.

Nowadays I continue to be inventive, and my methods and choice of ingredients can be a little maverick at times. But my crazy way keeps carb cravings and doctors at bay 😀

a little about me and my keto journey
2016…date night with ketohusband for my 53rd birthday…

Variety is key to keto success

Understanding what ketogenic means, why ketosis is healthy and which ingredients to use in every day meals is a huge task in itself, never mind finding enough variety in home cooking to make this lifestyle sustainable! It’s no surprise that many people who are initially attracted to the ketogenic ‘diet‘ end up going back to eating ‘normal‘ food. They either get tired of eating the same stuff, or they can’t figure out what to take to work for lunch, or their busy lives don’t allow much spare time to cook. And let’s face facts: we are surrounded by tasty, attractive, convenience food that is sky-high in carbs, so temptation is always there!

The aim of my blog is to make keto life easier by providing easy recipe ideas for every situation. Whether it’s breakfast, a packed lunch, a picnic, dinner for 1+ or a full-on Christmas family meal. And because desserts are what ketoers miss the most, my collection of sweet recipes very much prevails 🙂 

If I can help any reader switch to and maintain keto adaptation by blogging my recipes, I will have achieved what I set out to do.

Enjoy my recipes, and please subscribe so you never miss a post!

8 Replies to “A little about me and my KETO journey”

  1. Thank you so much for the plethora of recipes, your blog has truly helped make my transition to a ketogenic lifestyle much easier!

    • Thank you so much Jordan. It may sound cheesy, but it truly means a lot when I get comments like yours. Unlike the huge and successful food bloggers out there who have an entourage of helpers, I’m just a lone little blogger who does absolutely everything on her own, with no monetary revenues other than a few Amazon affiliate pennies. It is a costly, time consuming and often difficult ‘hobby’. My reward is knowing that I can help others be healthy. Being appreciated is the cherry on my keto cake. Thank you again.

  2. Wow, just discovered your website – really interesting and I love the links to products. I’d never heard of Lupin Flour until an hour ago, but am about to place an order. Signing up right now! Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Sarah! Thank you for your very kind comments. I love lupin flour! Let me know how you get on with it and if you have any questions I can help you with, feel free to ask. There are plenty of recipes waiting to be added to my blog, so if you want to be notified of them, sign up by email (I don’t and never will sell people’s addresses). Please mention queenketo if you make the recipe and you post photos.

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