The Ketogenic Kitchen is a must-have book for anyone interested in better health, particularly those who are open to -- or already follow -- a ketogenic or low-carb way of eating.
In addition to providing guidance on achieving a healthy, sustainable ketogenic lifestyle, it may very well be life-changing for people with cancer.
Domini Kemp is a chef who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and followed a diet based on unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods during chemo and radiation. Patricia Daly is a former business analyst in corporate banking and current nutritional therapist who had remarkable results using a ketogenic diet as part of her therapy for eye cancer. At diagnosis, both women were eating what most people would consider very healthy diets: lots of whole grains, fruits, legumes and other foods high in complex carbs and low in fat. However, that all changed once they discovered the connection between high blood sugar levels and cancer.
The Ketogenic Kitchen is actually two books in one, and they complement each other beautifully.
The first part, "The Low Carb Way," is written by Domini. It includes a carbohydrate sensitivity quiz (created by Dr. Georgia Ede), a discussion about the benefits of carb restriction for cancer and other diseases, Domini's own story, and many delicious whole-food, low-carb recipes. The recipes are arranged by type: Breakfast, Soup, Mains, Vegetables, Dressings and Desserts. There is also a section with several vegetarian entrees that sound delicious.
In the second part, "The Ketogenic Way," Patricia shares her own story and expertise about the ketogenic diet, including detailed helpful hints for getting the best results from this way of eating. She also has a fantastic section entitled "Myth-busting FAQs" in which she addresses common concerns about the ketogenic diet in an evidence-based way that is also very easy to understand, along with its potential benefits as a cancer therapy to be used in conjunction with conventional treatment.
The Meal Plans and Recipes
The first thing you'll probably notice when you look through this book are the exquisitely photographed recipes. I was also happy to see that each recipe's nutrition analysis includes the macronutrient composition percentages.
While there are several recipes in "The Low Carb Way" that have carb counts too high for a ketogenic diet, there are also many with 6 grams of digestible carb or less per serving, which can easily fit into a keto lifestyle. Here are just a few examples:
Eggs "Benedict" (4.4 grams net carb)
Chicken, Cashew and Broccoli Stir Fry (3.7 grams net carb)
Ridiculously Tasty Prawns (1.1 grams net carb)
As someone who favors gradually easing into carbohydrate restriction rather than going from a very high carb intake to one that is very low, I was happy to see that Patricia takes the same approach in "The Ketogenic Way." Her meal plans start with about 50 grams of digestible ("net") carb per day and progressively reduce daily carb intake to 12 grams over the course of 2 weeks.
Patricia's menu plans take the guesswork out of how many carbs to consume each day for your daily goal. In addition, she has organized this section so that the recipes for each day's meal plan are right on the same or the following page. I love that she encourages the reader to make extra portions of meat and vegetables to use as leftovers for the next day's recipes, which helps minimize the amount of time needed for meal planning and preparation. Patricia provides a lot of helpful information throughout these chapters, including easy and effective ways to include probiotics in your diet; identifying food sensitivities and adjusting your keto diet as needed; the benefits of sea vegetables, coconut oil and organ meats; and much more.
I also appreciate the emphasis placed on the healing qualities of foods in addition to their macronutrient composition. Herbs and spices are used liberally in the recipes, both for their antioxidant benefits as well as adding flavor and texture to the dishes. Nourishing bone broth and meat and vegetable stocks are the base for many of her entrees and sides.
Featured Recipes: Asian Baked Salmon with Curried Cauliflower Rice
I made a delicious dinner with Patricia's recipes that feature two of my favorite foods: salmon and cauliflower. The result was extremely tasty, filling and nourishing, with a digestible carb count of less than 6 grams for the entire meal.
Asian Baked Salmon (serves 4)
3.2 oz (90 g) coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5-inch (4-cm) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
4 Tablespoons (72 g) soy sauce or tamarin
2 teaspoons (4 g) five-spice powder
4 salmon filets, 3.5 oz (100 g) each
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
2. Place the salmon filets in an oven-proof glass baking dish.
3. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan, then add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce and spices.
4. Pour sauce over the salmon filets and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Serve over cauliflower rice.
Net/digestible carbs: 2.1 g
Protein: 24 g
Fat: 35 g
Fiber: 0.3 g
Cauliflower Rice (serves 4)
14 oz (400 g) cauliflower
4 (24 g) sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (I added roasted red peppers instead)
1 (3 g) garlic clove, peeled
1 tsp (2 g) curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons (90 g) duck fat (I used Kerrygold butter instead)
Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor until it looks similar to small rice grains. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes or red peppers, garlic, curry powder, and seasoning.
Heat the duck fat (or butter) in a frying pan and fry the "rice" on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Net/digestible carbs: 3.4 g
Protein: 3.9 g
Fat: 27 g
Fiber: 2.8 g
The Ketogenic Kitchen: Final Thoughts
In all honesty, I can't think of anything negative to say about The Ketogenic Kitchen. I believe you will truly enjoy this book and the recipes. What's more, I think your health -- and the health of your loved ones -- will be greatly enhanced by incorporating its nutrition principles into your life, whether you have cancer or are interested in protecting your health and improving your quality of life.
The Ketogenic Kitchen is available on Amazon.com in the US and it is also available internationally on Amazon in several countries. Click here to purchase it from Amazon.com.
Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE