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Our little secrets to shopping keto
By The Low Carb Clinic, 14 May 2019 - 972 words (5 minutes)
Shopping low-carbohydrate or keto isn’t hard.
The key is to focus on whole foods - don’t get caught up in the world of supplements, shakes and bars. Products like these are simply unnecessary, and expensive.
Here are our little secrets for shopping keto…
DYI bone broth & cooking fat
From the butcher, you can buy bags of bones (like lamb or beef) and make bone broths – you’ll end up with a nutritious broth that you can drink or add to soups or sauces, as well as a big layer of fat that you can scrape off and use for daily cooking.
Try buying bags of beef, lamb or chicken bones from the butcher. In the slow cooker, cover with water, and add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste, and a tablespoon of vinegar (this helps to draw the nutrients from the bones). Leave it alone, on low, for 24-36 hours. Strain, pour into jars, and put in the fridge. The fat will settle on the top – which you can scrape off and use in cooking. The gelatinous stock is filled with sodium, potassium, collagen, and protein. Try different herbs, spices and types of bones for different flavours, and have as a nourishing drink after fasting, or as a base for soups, saucy dishes or curries.
Discover a world of simpler, cheaper, and more nutritious meat
Try buying some lamb liver and frying like you would a steak. One of the benefits of choosing Australian lamb is that in Australia, lamb has always been grass-fed – which optimises the types of fats present in the meat (grain-fed meat is higher in polyunsaturated fats, which can be damaging to the body). Liver is high in vitamin A, B12, folic acid, iron, and is a great source of protein. As your palate adjusts, you can try heart, kidney, and brain – they offer a range of nutrients not found in normal cuts of muscle meat.
Buying large cuts of meat (like roasts), complete with bones and skin. Throw them in the slow cooker or covered in the oven and you will end up not only with lots of meat, but also nutritious stock and fat you can use in cooking – three for the price of one! You can do this with lamb, pork, duck, chicken, beef, turkey… you won’t get bored.
Forget shakes, bars, powders or supplements
There is a lot of hype surrounding keto, don’t get caught up buying expensive powders, shakes, bars and pills. Remember low-carbohydrate eating is about optimising our body’s health by reconnecting with our traditional eating patterns.
Go to the markets
At markets, you can buy fresh vegetables in bulk – which are much cheaper than the pre-packaged salads at the supermarket. Cut up a couple of days’ worth of veggies and salad at a time (get your Tupperware out and store in the fridge so it’s easy to add low-carb veggies to every meal).
If you’ve got a food processor, try buying whole cabbages, cauliflower or zucchini and grating them yourself (rather than the pre-packaged coleslaw mixes and cauliflower rices).
Choose free range chicken eggs
True, they are more expensive, but the nutritional benefits of grass fed (rather than grain fed) chicken eggs outweigh the increase in cost – they have a better ratio of essential omega-fats (and the chickens are treated far better). Or… get your own chickens! They are great for families, and will eat up any leftovers.
Make your own grab-and-go packs
You can buy nuts and seeds in bulk and split them into containers for the times when you’re on the move. Great choices for nuts and seeds include macadamia, pecans, brazil nuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds (avoid higher-carbohydrate nuts like cashew and pistachio). No need for pre-made trail mixes: save your pennies and make your own.
Grow your own herbs
Herbs are nutrient dense and flavoursome – but the packaged herbs at the supermarket will certainly put a dent in your wallet. Herbs are easy to grow, beautiful to look at, and fun to experiment with. You don’t need a huge garden – seasonal, potted herbs on the windowsill work wonders. Plus, dried herbs can sometimes have fillers, sugars, and preservatives added – growing your own takes out all the undesirables.
Just because it’s high in fat or low in carbohydrates, doesn’t mean it is healthy
There are different types of fat. Processed cheese melted on top of a pre-packed burger patty cooked canola oil may be low-carb, high-fat, but the fats are likely poor quality, and the meal itself likely offers few nutrients. Look for foods naturally high in saturated fats (like unprocessed animal products, coconut oil and butter) and monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, nuts and seeds). Get your polyunsaturated fats from whole food sources (like fish) and leave processed foods and oils on the shelf (like canola, soybean, margarine and marinated meats).
Avoid industrial seed and ‘vegetable’ oils
Not all fats are created equally. Vegetable or seed oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids that oxidise rapidly and promote inflammation through the body. They are best avoided. These oils include:
These oils are also contained in many pre-packaged goods such as mayonnaise. Look at nutrition labels and if you see any of these oils in the product (even if it’s ‘keto’), put it back on the shelf. Best to buy some olive oil and make your own mayonnaise.
For cooking, choose stable, saturated fats – lard, tallow, duck, goose, ghee and coconut. For lower heat cooking you can use butter and olive oil. If you want oil in liquid form, try macadamia, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and make your own salad dressings by mixing with apple cider or balsamic vinegar.
Learn the names for sugar
There are over 50 different names for sugar – from the more recognisable like glucose, cane sugar, and brown sugar to the less obvious, including:
Fruit juice concentrate
Evaporated cane juice
Remember sugar is sugar, no matter where it’s from – date syrup, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup and agave nectar sound ‘healthy’, but they are still sugar, and they won’t promote your health.
Once again – it's easier just to avoid the packaged and processed foods altogether.