If you follow me on Instagram, you’d know that I’ve been frequenting my kitchen a lot more these days. And for the right reasons. That is not to look into my fridge every 15 minutes in hopes that something edible will magically appear for my alimentary pleasure, but rather to make food. For the good majority of my life, my dear and loving parents took care of all the cooking. Rarely did they ever ask me to lend a hand in the kitchen because, as my dad puts, it requires far more effort, time, and frustration to teach (a pitiful pile of ineptitude, but these are my words) than it is for him to just do it himself. However, one exception to this was when we made spring rolls, the only thing they ever enlisted me for. Not to brag or anything but I’m a pretty good spring roller. I have one redeeming domestic attribute so just let me have this, okay?

My world, as I knew it, came crashing down when I moved to the other side of the country for university, but only ever so briefly. I had a residence meal plan, which caused me to gain 5-7 pounds because poutine all day, every day. My lowest low in life was actually at my highest weight, ha-ha-ha.

Fast forward to today, I have been moved out of dorm and cooking for myself for 2 years. In case you curious cats are wondering, I have lost that freshman weight and then some. It’s been pretty dead in my kitchen up until this month when I started following a low carbohydrate + moderate protein + high fat dietDon’t you dare skinny-shame me for dieting. It’s a slight modification of (mostly) clean eating habits I had developed. The skinny on the “Keto” diet is that by eating extremely low carbs, your body is forced to burn fat for fuel. These special purple-turning Ketostix are available for you to twinkle on to check if you’re in ketosis. Of course with any diet, there are restrictions as to what foods are acceptable so I’ve been a little more creative.

Eating healthy is the key to doing as little as possible to look acceptable and feel good without doing too much physical activity  which we should still do nonetheless. They say abs are made in the kitchen but I used to be in the kitchen all the time munching in front of my fridge but I never got abs? Shrug. Kidding aside, eating well is truly 90% of the battle. I haven’t been to the gym in 3 months yet I’ve never looked or felt better because I stopped overdosing on carbs. A terrific byproduct of this is that I no longer fall victim to deadly food comas, a once too familiar occurrence.

Below is a list of a few personal discoveries worth a mention all of which I will continue to buy, diet or not.

Almond Butter

  • High fat, low carbs (most attributable to fibre, which is passed straight through your system so it *doesn’t* count as a carb)
  • Only ingredient, usually: roasted almonds
  • About $10/jar, twice the price of peanut butter.
  • Not as commercially available but definitely not hard to find.
  • This one I bought from Costco is creamy but I don’t think they all are.

It is a universally known fact that peanut butter makes everything peanut better save for those with a peanut allergy, of course, so this might be viable alternative if it indicates it was made in a peanut-free facility. I been had expanding my nut butter horizons from my childhood one and only, green-jar Kraft creamy peanut butter to 100% crunchy organic peanut butter to now, almond butter. Let’s just say it is DELICIOUS. I could probably drink this stuff. Totally kidding…

Almond Milk

  • Dairy-free, cholesterol-free, vegan, low calories, low carbs.
  • I switched from soy milk to unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Soy milk is definitely a lot sweeter, but I don’t drink much milk now besides adding a little to my green smoothies for a creamy consistency.
  • You can make your own almond milk but who really has time for that. Buy 1 L for $3 and call it a day.

Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Psyllium Husk Seeds

  • Lots of health benefits (vague, I know)
  • I use all of these for baking, oatmeal toppings, and smoothies since the presence of anything else overpowers their faint taste. Bananas are great for masking the taste of just about everything but keep in mind that they are extremely carb-heavy.
  • Flax seed: nutty flavour. Shown here is unground flax seeds. You’re supposed to grind them so your body can better absorb the nutrients but if you don’t have a (coffee) grinder, just buy them pre-ground to save yourself the trouble. 
  • Psyllium husk seed: almost made completely of fibre. Thickens liquid. Some consume 1 tbsp in water each day to help with digestion but I find difficulty choking it down this way. I first discovered this from a Instagram fitness queen who would not stop talking about it.

Coconut Flour

  • Baking! …or no-bake microwave mug cakes for the desperate and lazy. 
  • Tastes like coconut, no surprise.
  • Gluten-free, most of the carbs = fibre.
  • I never bought flour or baked anything before coconut flour.
  • My most recent endeavour cinnamon coconut flour scones (containing ground flax seed & psyllium husk seeds) with cream cheese frosting. Let me know if anyone wants the recipe.

Coconut Oil

  • High in fat.
  • Doesn’t taste like coconut I cook almost everything in this now.
  • Solid in form at room temperature.
  • Every health/nutrition blog talks about this.
  • Some people eat this by the spoonful like candy but I do not because it tastes like nothing to me.

Hemp Seeds

  • High in fat, omega3’s, etc.
  • Sprinkle this stuff onto your granola, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
  • Crunchy little light-tasting seeds that are easy to eat.

Shirataki Noodles

  

  • Holy grail of noodles for dieting or weight loss.
  • Zero to low calories, almost no carbs, depending on the brand and type. There are tofu, spaghetti, fettuccine varieties.
  • Very similar in taste and consistency of clear, thick vermicelli noodles. 
  • Some people wash the life out of these noodles out of the packaging because it supposedly smells like fish sauce but if you’re Vietnamese like me, this ain’t no thang.


All the above foods (and just about everything else edible in the world) contain a slew of health benefits: antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, what-have-you’s, so I care little to find out or list them here. Most, if not all, can be found in either the organic aisle or dedicated grocery stores. 

This concludes my first individual post on SAUMIGNON. Shirley has been putting me to shame lately with her drool-worthy non-foodie foodie adventures in Asia. Long distance relationships are indeed difficult. What sort of posts do you want to see from me? Cooking posts? Restaurant reviews? I’m all ears.

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  • Cansu

    Hey Jen,
    Great article! I was wondering where you get those dry shirataki noodles from? I could only find soaked ones in the grocery stores sadly. Thanks