PONTOTOC – This past January, Becky Grubbs totally changed the way she cooks and eats.
Before the switch, Grubbs ate a lot of starches – think pasta and bread – along with fried chicken and vegetables like peas and corn.
But on Jan. 3, Grubbs and a couple of her co-workers started eating keto-friendly meals.
The ketogenic diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
“I started keto for weight loss,” said Grubbs, a certified pharmacy technician with the North Mississippi Medical Center. “We had a supervisor at work who had been doing it with success for over a year.”
A typical meal for Grubbs now might be chicken in a creamy Parmesan sauce with green beans, or pork tenderloin with cabbage that’s been sauteed with onions and bacon.
“I’ve lost 30 pounds so far, and I’d like to lose 20 more,” the 51-year-old said.
At the beginning of her journey, Grubbs and her co-workers started walking at lunch to burn some extra calories. But Grubbs soon found that to be boring.
“My sister-in-law said I needed to try kick-boxing,” she said. “I went, and I was hooked. I love it. I do classes three or four times a week.”
Grubbs is the middle of three children born to Hugh and Dora Day of Pontotoc. Her sister, Jennifer Johnson, and brother, Heath, also still live in Pontotoc.
She grew up cooking the old-fashioned Southern foods her mother and aunts typically prepared.
“I remember making cakes with them for birthdays and things like that,” she said. “And I had home ec in high school.”
Grubbs doesn’t make those types of cakes anymore, but she has discovered some keto-friendly desserts.
“My peanut butter pie is a favorite of co-workers,” she said. “I usually make it for everybody that’s celebrating a birthday.”
She still makes things like french fries and rolls for her husband, Chris, if she wants something like that with a meal, and she’s looking forward to cooking for their son, Guy Logan, when he comes home from Alaska in July.
“I’m excited to get to cook for him again,” she said. “I think he’ll like keto.”
Even when Grubbs has guests over, she cooks keto meals, and most of the time, they don’t even know the difference.
“For Easter, I had ham, slaw, squash casserole, green beans and a keto dessert,” she said. “Everybody enjoyed it. I think this is something that can be done and sustained. I think this is something I can do for the rest of my life.”
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1 (16-ounce) box bowtie pasta, cooked
1 large jar pimientos, drained
1 can chopped black olives, drained
1 tablespoon Accent seasoning
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
GOOD FRUIT DESSERT
1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large can peaches, drained and cut into chunks
1 large can chunk pineapple, drained and cut chunks in half
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups red grapes, halved
2 cups green grapes, halved
In a large bowl, combine whipped topping, sour cream, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Add peach chunks, pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges and grapes. Mix well. Chill before serving.
1 pound ground breakfast sausage
3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1 bunch broccoli, florets finely chopped
2 deep-dish pie crusts, unbaked
Brown sausage with onion. Drain. Combine sausage mixture with eggs, milk, cheeses and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture between 2 deep-dish pie crusts. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
KETO BROCCOLI SALAD
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Erythritol sweetener
2 heads of broccoli, florets only, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar and sweetener. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, cheese, pecans and bacon. Add dressing and stir gently to combine. Chill 1 hour or longer before serving.
NO-COOK KETO PEANUT BUTTER PIE
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons Swerve granulated sweetener
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Swerve confectioners’ sweetener
1 tablespoon cacao powder
2 tablespoons Swerve confectioners’ sweetener
2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the crust, combine butter, almond flour, cacao powder, sweetener and vanilla with the back of a fork. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Chill in refrigerator while making filling.
For the filling, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, sweetener, cream and vanilla with an electric mixer. Pour into chilled pie crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
For the topping, in a small bowl combine cacao powder, sweetener, heavy cream and salt. If it seems too thick to drizzle, warm it in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. Drizzle over top of pie.
1 (3- to 4-pound) chuck or sirloin top roast
2 cans golden mushroom soup
Place roast in a Crock-Pot. Add the soup. Cook on low for 8 hours. If desired, add potatoes and carrots. The gravy is good over mashed potatoes.
CHICKEN IN CREAMY SPINACH PARMESAN SAUCE
2 chicken breasts or 4 to 6 chicken tenders
1 teaspoon oregano, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained from oil and chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Season chicken with salt, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and cook chicken for 4 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the same pan and cook onion, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add chicken broth, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add spinach to the mixture and cook until wilted. Add the chicken back to the skillet and reheat for 2 to 3 minutes, before serving.