Here in the south of France we are a bit behind the US when it comes to fad diets. In fact, we are a bit behind the US when it comes to most trends. It’s only when I visit Vermont every summer that I catch up on trends that have yet to hit the French Riviera. Last August I added 2 new terms to my vocabulary: pop sockets and Keto diet. The word KETO jumped out at me everywhere I went last summer – magazine covers, food packaging, vitamins. I figured I had to buy something and jump on the Keto train before heading back to Europe. So, at the end of the month I flew back to France with a glittery new contraption stuck to my phone which caused my friends to question it’s necessity and a bottle of Keto supplements – not entirely sure what they were for.
It wasn’t until I was home that I actually had time to read up on what KETO actually meant. And ugh, I was not convinced. Damn the $30 I wasted on Keto vitamins at GNC. Don’t get me wrong – I believe that Keto is a diet that works extremely well for many people. The idea of the body burning fat instead of sugar sounds great. But I just couldn’t get my head around a diet that promotes meat, dairy and fat but encourages the careful counting of vegetable carbohydrates. Vegetables are good for us – right? And is it really healthy to eat loads of dairy and animal fat? Didn’t Dr Atkins die of a heart attack?
Then a friend told me about the Ketotarian diet – the Keto diet for vegetarians and vegans. I’m not a vegetarian and, truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever met a vegan whom I wanted to hang out with (except Ellen DeGeneres, whom I haven’t met yet but…) But I do love my veggies and vegetarian food. So, a diet high in plant based fats sounded healthier and like something I wanted to try……………. Bring on the avocados!!!
The trouble is…………. I’m horrible at diets. I have willpower when it comes to exercise but that’s where the story ends. I was sooooo excited to start my ketotarian diet that I jumped in head first, not realizing the pool was half empty.
I’m not a vegan. I don’t like vegans. (kinda kidding). Two days into the diet and I did not want coffee with coconut oil in it. I wanted coffee as God intended it – with milk.
Phase 1 – Keto diet – not for Jessica.
Phase 2 – Ketotarian diet – not for Jessica.
Enter Phase 3 – the Jessotarian diet – a primarily plant based diet with the addition of organic chicken, seafood and fish, limited dairy and plenty of healthy fats like nuts, avocado, and coconut oil (just not in my coffee). My body will not reach ketosis on this diet, I realize that, but it seems like a healthy diet and one I can stick to – for at least a few weeks.
However, as part of my journey into keto/ketotarian diets I did prepare meals for my clients over a two week period that followed the diets’ guidelines and I promised to share some recipes. They were all delicious, if I do say so myself, and I will continue to eat them on the Jessotarian diet. For those of you who have more willpower than myself and who actually follow the Keto guidelines the below recipe does in fact tick the boxes. It is KETO and Jessotarian friendly. And it’s yummy.
So here is the first recipe:
- For Chicken:
- 4 organic chicken breasts
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon marjoram or basil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried shallot or onion
- For Tabouleh:
- ½ large head of cauliflower
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- ½ large bunch of mint, finely chopped
- 1 large cucumber, finely chopped
- 3-4 plum tomatoes, small dice
- 2 scallions/spring onions - finely chopped, both green and white parts
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oli
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- For Tzatziki:
- ½ large cucumber,grated
- 1 cup (240 ml) greek yogurt
- 2 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh dill
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Additional accompaniments:
- Kalamata Olives,
- Hummus or Babaganoush
- Place the chicken breasts in a pyrex dish and coat with olive oil. Combine oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder and dried onion in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over chicken, Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile chop the cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is rice consistency.
- Combine cauliflower, parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato and spring onion in a bowl.
- In a small bowl stir together oil, zest and lemon juice. Add to cauliflower mixture and season generously with salt and pepper.
- For Tzatziki: combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Heat a grill or broiler and grill/broil the chicken until done, 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
- Place tabouleh in a bowl and top with chicken, tzatziki and olives. Add hummus or babbaganoush if desired.