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Carolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and evil mastermind behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Since its inception in 2010, ADIDAF has grown to be one of the most popular low carb sites on the web. With over one million page views per month, it has a devoted following among dieters, diabetics, celiacs, and those simply trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Carolyn’s recipes and photography have been featured in Women’s Health, Glamour.com, The Huffington Post, Diabetic Living, Redbook, and Shape Magazine, among others. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that low carb and gluten-free dishes can be as good as or better than their conventional counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment.
To the book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xo2Xjw
A few popular recipes
Hey welcome, welcome everyone to another episode of Keto Chat. I am your host Carole Freeman, certified nutritionist and creator of the Fast-Track to Keto Success program.
I am here today with Carolyn Ketchum. Hey, if you don’t know who she is, she is a writer, photographer, and evil mastermind behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Welcome Carolyn. Yay.
Thank you. Hi. I’m glad to be here.
And also a recent cookbook author. You have your-
I do, I’ve got it right here.
Yeah, awesome. Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen. Awesome.
Oh my gosh, you’ve been on the low carb scene for a long time. Take me back. How did you get started on this journey?
Oh, that’s fun times. I had gestational diabetes with my daughter, my third child, and I didn’t eat low carb then because I had the typical, standard advice from my doctors and from my nutritionist, which was to eat lots of carbs and make sure I didn’t make any ketones and all these things that I now go, oh God, if I’d only known.
So, I worked really hard at staying off insulin. Because I was slender and fit, my endocrinologist took one look at me and was like you’re going to be on insulin by the end of your pregnancy, and I was like oh good God.
Oh, wow. Wow.
Oh yeah. He gave me a little challenge, which was great, because then I stayed off insulin. I did a lot of walking, I walked after pretty much every meal. So basically eating the standard American diet with diabetes wasn’t working, but I didn’t know any better at the time, and then I had Maggie and things seemed to go back to normal for a little while.
And then the one good piece of advice my endocrinologist gave me was to test every so often, even because of the risk of type 2 after having gestational, and so I was, and about four to six months later, I started to see it creep up again and I got concerned and I did a lot of research on my own and decided I needed to go low carb, which helped me manage my blood sugars to the point where I’ve never actually been diagnosed with type 2. I technically am pre-diabetic, but seeing the numbers I saw, eating half a bagel and seeing over 200, I know that I would be diabetic for sure if I wasn’t on a low carb diet.
So I just started playing with ingredients because I’ve always been a big baker. I love to bake and I just started playing with the ingredients and writing about it. At first, I had no one paying any attention, but then slowly people started paying attention because I kind of got good at it and I enjoyed it, and I got good at the photography part of it too, which of course we always eat with our eyes first. So that’s very important. So yeah, I’ve been doing it for about seven and a half years, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, so you were doing it before it was keto.
Yeah, before I even knew what keto was, I was eating low carb. Probably wouldn’t be keto because I was just sort of eating 75 grams of carbs a day kind of thing, which was helping me manage my blood sugar, but I noticed as I went along the lower carb I got, the better glucose control I had. Then I sort of kept seeing the word keto and going I don’t know what these people are talking about, and then finally was like oh I’m pretty much eating that way, so that’s great.
I didn’t test a lot. It was like what a lot of people call lazy keto, sort of I just did it intuitively. Pardon me, getting over a cold.
I don’t know that you have the answer to this, but something that’s fascinating to me is that where did we transition from low carb to keto, like why is keto the word right now? I kinda wanna think that maybe [Dom Degastino 00:04:22] might have been the big player in that whole change, but I don’t know for sure, right? Because Jimmy Moore started Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb podcast and somewhere in there keto came up and I can’t quite figure out where that history comes from.
I think people like Dave Asprey of Bulletproof, and Zach did too. Bringing that bit in, I don’t know if he was keto right from the beginning either, and he doesn’t always. He does sort of the cyclical kind of keto. Like Maria Emmerich too. She was low-carb, and we knew each other, we met at a couple things and then she changed her whole name to Keto-Adapted and things like that. I was like, “Oh, this is even lower carb than…” But as someone who tests her blood sugar, I just started cutting out more and more. I’m not zero carb by any stretch, but the more I did, the better glucose control I had.
Well, that’s great, great. It seems like most people, their story of finding keto involves some kind of a health issue that they found, it got so much better following this way of eating. Do you have some… I imagine with the following on your blog that you’ve received a lot of stories from people that found your blog, started following using your recipes and then had amazing health transformations. Do you have any stories like that to share?
I have a lot of stories. I have a lot of type 1 diabetic followers or parents of type 1 whose kids… You know. I get a lot of emails that are like, “Thank you so much, you basically rescued me because I felt…” and I’m not trying to rescue anybody. I felt that keto was so restrictive and then I found I could have a donut once in a while as long as it was your donuts.
I have a lot of type 1 parents emailing me and saying thank you so much, because my kiddo can now go to school with a cupcake that’s not going to send his blood glucose up. Whereas his friends, they get the birthday cupcakes and he can have this. So, I get a lot of that. I think a lot of people think it’s just going to be eggs, meat and cheese for the rest of your life and I thought that too, I did. Then I started to experiment with almond flour and felt I could do some things.
And a lot of people who, things like fibromyalgia, PCOS, thyroid conditions. They’re just like, “Yeah, I’m so much better and so much happier eating these things, but it’s nice to be able to have really good food too.” We’re not resigned to steak, not that I would mind eating steak every night, but it might get a little boring. I think that really helped people so yeah, I see a lot of people who already had their health issues and they have come to keto or low-carb and then found it’s not as restrictive as they think it is, and I think that’s really important.
Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing time that we’re in right now with all off… especially the Victory Belt cookbooks that are all coming out. Trying to follow low-carb even ten years ago… was meat and cheese, right? It’s interesting. Maybe we gotta blame it on the internet, right?
Oh yeah, and the growth of food blogs and blogs in general and yeah. Everybody being able to self-publish themselves and put it out there in a way. Because I think in the seven years that I’ve done this, not only has it changed in terms of amount of recipes and creativity, but products that people are coming out with. Some of them are still junk really, and you shouldn’t buy the packaged products. But there’s a lot of different sweeteners now, there’s a lot of different things that you can use, that you can utilize. A whole bunch of different flours that people were just starting to experiment with and now they’re sort of standard things. Like I don’t think of almond flour as something special. And you can buy it just about anywhere now. That’s really great too.
Yeah, because back when Atkins was popular in the 70s, 80s, even in the 90s, there just weren’t the recipes out there and there weren’t any cookbooks that were beyond meat and cheese.
Right there were a handful of blogger, like really small and not necessarily well known, and I discovered a few things that led me to start experimenting and playing with things and at least had a little bit of guidance. I got a lot of guidance from the paleo bloggers back then. Because they were using coconut flour and almond flour, but I was like, “Well I can’t use the honey, let me find something else I can use.”
And, admittedly, at the beginning, I used some sucralose but I never liked it. Then I discovered things like erythritol and xylitol and things like that.
I love that caveat, like I use Splenda, but I didn’t like it. It’s kind of like I [crosstalk 00:09:24].
It’s like, I smoked up but I didn’t inhale. Yeah, right. No, but it really was, I was like that taste is just off. So people, I have a lot of followers who, they don’t like, there’s every sweetener has it’s issues. Somebody’s like, “I just don’t like the taste of erythritol.” Fine use what you want, I’ll help you figure it out. I’m not going to… I’d rather see somebody go low-carb and use something like Splenda then be eating the sugars and things like that.
So what’s it like in your day-to-day life, personal life, living in Portland seven years ago, going low-carb? Portland has an amazing food scene, but there’s still a lot of vegetarian, vegan restaurants that are there. I know a lot of people that live there are vegetarian and vegan.
Yeah, yeah. Oh yeah.
What was it like?
Well, I didn’t live in Portland when I first, I lived in Boston. I actually lived in Boston.
The Portland food scene… Boston was getting better too, but yeah. I think Portland has been easier in the sense of things like grass-fed meat and being a little out there and weird in what you eat is totally acceptable. You know what I mean?
As opposed to Boston was a little stranger. Like I could go to a restaurant here and be sort of like, “Well, I don’t eat this and I don’t eat that. Can you do this?” And they’re like sure. No big deal. But I feel Portland does have a lot of like, the donuts here. There’s like 18 different donut places, there’s Blue Star, there’s Voodoo, there’s Pip’s and they’re all supposed to be the best donuts, and I’ve never had the chance to try them. So, oh well.
Oh, oh. Yeah, you’re not missing out. [inaudible 00:11:07] do it for me, I try. Yeah.
But I will tell you at my kid’s soccer game, Voodoo Donuts, there’s one field where, and the smell just wafts over you and wafts over the whole field and you’re like, “Mmm. That smells good.” But I’ll live by the smell alone. That’s fine.
Well, I can tell. The quality of the ingredients there in the Voodoo, I can tell you. I had them before I was keto and I just like, oh my gosh, just a gut bomb the rest of the day. Just terrible feeling, so.
Oh, yeah. I mean how do you… that’s the thing. When my kids get a chance to eat stuff like that, they’ll take it but later they’re like “I have a tummy ache.” And I’m like “Mm-hmm (affirmative). You know why that is?” So I use it like teachable moment every single time and they’re like yeah, shut up.
Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a great topic so, do you want to talk more about what it is having a low-carb household and having kids because I know that for a lot of moms especially, when they’re making a transition from whatever a higher carb lifestyle to a low-carb lifestyle for whatever reason, for their own health or their family’s health that a lot of them, some of the clients I work with, they struggle because before food and sugar was how they showed love in their family. They got all these [inaudible 00:12:25] and things like that that they’re doing. They change their own diet, but they don’t wanna take away those treats for their kids. Talk to me about what that’s been and what your perspective is on… should we tell kids they can have [inaudible 00:12:38], should we still let them have them in the house? What’s that like?
Yeah, that’s a tough one for me. I would love to have my kids completely low-carb. Love it. But I started late in the game, kind of things. I already had kids who… I think there are some people who start their children on keto and low-carb early and so the kids almost never have a taste for it, for the sugar. I think that’s fantastic. I wish I had… It’s not like my kids ate a ton of sugar anyway. So it’s definitely like now, it’s this compromise in my house. Breakfast is usually something I’ve made, so it’s usually low-carb. Lunch can be sometimes sandwiches and things like that so it’s not. I’m always testing them out with more and sort of pushing it.
But I have an almost 13 year old and I have a relationship to preserve with him and so he’s getting into his teenage years and he’s very resistant to things and he wants to eat what his friends are eating. I feel like the best I can do is lay the groundwork for him to know what’s healthy and to really push my point sometimes, but also just to allow him the freedom to make his own decisions. Even yesterday, I had something that I made… and then one things I made an absolute decision recently, just because of sheer lack of time is I’m not cooking anything different for the kids than I am cooking for me, for dinner. If they don’t like it, they go hungry. Even like I cooked a lamb stew thing last night and it was so good, but of course my son was like grumble, grumble, grumble. And I said that’s what’s for dinner and kind of started in on the, well this is what you should be eating and he was like “I know, I know.” I just had to be like, “Okay. I’ll back off for right now.”
It’s just kind of this constant compromise, sometimes I’m pushing and he gets mad. So I wish I could. I wish I could completely get him on keto but I can’t fight that battle all the time. But for parents of kids with chronic diseases that have to, then it’s drastic and then you should really get, in my opinion, you should get your whole household on it.
Because if a kid has siblings and the siblings are allowed cupcakes from a friend’s party, then that’s not really fair.
Yeah, I think that’s great and you’re so right. Esp with teens and preteens, empowering them to make those choices themselves goes a lot farther than making rules about what they can and can’t have when they’re not out of the house. But like you said, helping them notice how it makes them feel. That really empowers kids. That’s what I’ve always found in all my training and family work with nutrition is that… provide the food, let the kids notice how they feel, and then they can make a choice for themselves. Typically, they do wanna feel good, like they don’t wanna choose foods that make them feel terrible.
Right and yeah, I just find that also like sort of every opportunity. Like, you were saying people show love through baking things and sugar. Well I still bake, it doesn’t have sugar in it, it has different sweeteners and so because of that, I feel like I’m still showing them… and there’s a lot of my stuff that they like. They particularly love my homemade sugar-free Nutella. I can make anything with that. I can make cookies, I can make cakes and they’ll eat it instantly and I’m like great. They’ll choose that over some of the sugary things, then we’ve got Halloween coming and that’s always a bit of a battle. We make them give away at least half of their candy. [inaudible 00:16:24].
Is your Nutella recipe in the cookbook?
It’s not in the cookbook, it’s actually on my blog. I’m thinking I have a couple future cookbooks coming and there’s one that’s about breakfast and I’m thinking of putting it in the breakfast one, because we do it a lot for breakfast along with homemade muffins or sometimes crepes and we spread it on the crepe and roll it up and the kids love it, they love a Nutella roll-up as we call it.
Yeah, cool. Nice. So share with us a little behind the scenes. What was it like writing this cookbook and getting it out, because this is your first big published cookbook, right?
Yeah, and it’s a great, I mean it’s nice with Victory Belt. First of all, they’re wonderful people and they wanted me to make the cookbook I wanted to make, but they did have a lot of guidance and one is your first one should be sort of a more reference-style cookbook. It talks about the keto diet, it talks about how to employ it. It talks about how to stick with it, and you have recipes that range from breakfast to dessert. So that’s what I did and it was a lot of work. There’s no question that it was a lot of work. It’s being so well received, though. Like right now it has something like 165 five-star reviews on Amazon and there’s a single person who’s given it a four-star review and that’s just because she doesn’t like that much dairy. I’m like, “I’m sorry, [inaudible 00:17:42].”
No, she was like, “I had to return it because it was too much dairy for me. I’m dairy intolerant.” Well, okay fine. Now, my due, if you’re adept at being dairy free then there’s a lot of my recipes in there that either are dairy free, can be made dairy free, or if you reached out to me, I can help you find subs. Because I know a lot of that stuff, I do a fair bit of dairy free anyway.
So, yeah. It was a lot of work and I kept up my blog at the same time, which probably makes me absolutely crazy so for these next three cookbooks, which are all smaller targeted kind of cookbooks, like the next one’s gonna be easy keto dinners so it’s just 50 recipes for easy dinners and I’m trying to do a lot of those dairy free. But I’m also trying to cut back on the blog and not post as much because… my problem is I just love creating the recipes and I love sharing them and so the minute I have a good recipe, I want to share it and that’s why it’s hard to write a cookbook sometimes because I’m like, I have to wait like six months before you guys can see these recipes.
Yeah, it was really fun and Victory Belt, I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with.
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. Well, and a little sneak peek of what you’ve got coming up too so that’s exciting.
Yeah, yeah. It’s actually on pre-sale already and I need to announce it on my blog, I haven’t even talked about it yet. Because I’ve been so much like working with this one and promoting this one so much that, you know. So. I just need to take a break on that and work on the next one.
Yeah, you have a tour schedule. I mean, this video is going to be out for forever more out there, but do you have a tour book signing currently scheduled?
For the next one, I don’t have a tour in place. I think we still need to discuss that. I just came back from a book tour.
Okay, so you’re done for the one for this one?
Yeah, and I went in… and it’s with three young kids it was hard to do as many places, but yeah. I wanna do things like that again, because the best part of it was meeting the readers. People coming up to me and just talking about why they chose keto and why they like my recipes and we would talk about what helps and what works and doesn’t work. Oh, it was so good. It was wonderful.
Oh, yeah that’s great. And it really fuels the next batch and the next book to come out too.
Yeah, and it’s just I just love that there’s so much appreciation for what I’m doing and they don’t understand that I appreciate them because hey, they’ve helped get me here. If you follow my recipes and you love my blog, and you’re going there all the time. Then that’s why I have a big following, so that makes me feel good.
Yeah, nice. Nice. Well, so what other tips do you have for people that are… Gosh we could take this so many ways, like for people going low-carb, for people writing recipes, for blogging like… What’s part of your passion then?
On the book tour, I talked about it’s really about the food. I mean a lot of people sort of think that if you go keto you’re supposed to completely conquer all your cravings, which that’s a lovely idea. For a lot of people, it does. But food is still supposed to be celebration, so food still should be really interesting and wonderful. Especially when you get together with family for the holidays, you don’t want just okay I’m just eating this to fuel my body. Which, yes there’s that, but you can enjoy your food too. I keep saying to people, if the food sucked… I want people to realize how good the food actually is and can be.
So, if the food sucked, I probably still wouldn’t be doing this because I love food and I love creating food. I think realizing that it’s not as restrictive. I think that’s the scary part for so many people starting a keto diet is that they’re restricted. And they’re not really. You just have to find completely new ways of cooking and baking. And also the one thing that I like to tell people is you will fail sometimes and that’s totally okay. It’s about getting back onto it as quickly as you can, because we live in this gluten and sugar-filled world and temptation is always around us and especially if you work in an office and there’s an office party and… So it’s okay to fail, because you can get back on there, don’t beat yourself up too much if you do fail because that’s self-defeating attitude that won’t let you get back on the horse. So, I like to say those things.
Yeah, nice. Yeah, that’s great. So, I wonder if you had to pick just one recipe out of this current cookbook as your favorite.
Oh, everybody asks that. No, I couldn’t pick one. If you’re asking me to pick one from each section, I can do that.
Okay, it’s like, which one of your children is your favorite, right?
Exactly, people always say that. No, I love for dinner there’s two that I love. The Mexican shredded beef, because it’s so, so easy. And it’s a great family meal. Makes a lot. And another one that I love is the sheet pan chicken. It’s so easy, and it cooks itself and you really don’t have to put a lot of effort in.
Sounds like those are good for busy families too.
Very good for busy families.
And then dessert-wise, because I do lean towards dessert because I love my dessert. There’s these chocolate cups and they’re filled with like a tiramisu mousse and it’s really delicious. But I like a lot of them, there’s the butter pecan cookies, which were so, so good too. I’m tooting my own horn here in telling you how wonderful my food is, but I really think it is.
No, it’s great. I mean, it gives people an idea of what’s in there if they haven’t it yet and we’ve made the molten lava cakes.
Were really good, I think we made them like three nights in a row because they’re actually [crosstalk 00:23:36].
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Those are very good. And I have a peanut butter version, if you do eat peanut butter, which some people don’t. I have a peanut butter version on my blog but it’s filled with peanut butter instead of just the…
Oh interesting, yeah. Yeah, my son and his girlfriend live with me and she made a couple other recipes the night after I made the molten lava cakes. Made the chips, which are [inaudible 00:24:01].
Oh, the nacho chips with the pork rind? Yeah, my kids love those.
She made something else that night which I can’t remember now what it was but yeah.
Wonderful, I’m glad to hear it. Yeah, so far the reviews have been wonderful and the feedback has been wonderful. There is one error if you got the book that we’re correcting on the next printing, which is already happening but, the crispy fish nuggets say that there’s 41 grams of carbs, which is not possible.
Oh, I think we saw that on Facebook or on Instagram or something.
Yeah, oops. There was an errant 4 that just managed to stay in there. Don’t know how that happened so it’s 1.2 grams of carbs, not 41.2 grams of carbs.
Well, it’s funny little things like that it’s like how did that get through? And then one person after probably a thousand people have seen that now.
It was something like five sets of editors’ eyes and proofreaders’ eyes on these things and none of us caught it.
Sometimes you get corrected, so yeah.
Well, awesome. So, was there anything else you were hoping I would ask you about or that you wanted to share with people in the world, the low-carb keto world?
I just want more people to try this. I think it’s hard to start, but it’s not hard to stay on it. I wish people could realize that once you kind of jump over into it, and it’s getting easier and easier because so many of us are doing it and people are putting out better products. I just want people to start it and give it a try.
Yeah, awesome. Okay, well I have one final question for you. I know that you haven’t seen my series, so I think this will be a surprise to you but it’s your final day, final hours on the planet, the meteor’s coming, it’s going to kill us-
Okay, okay. Ooh, I like this question.
What’s your final meal going to be?
It would either be, I guess on the availability, steak with butter. Because I love steak with butter. Grilled steak with butter or, something with smoked salmon because I love smoked salmon. And then there’s gotta be a dessert and it will probably include chocolate and peanut butter.
Okay. Awesome. Maybe both of them together or, oh-
I somehow just lost your sound.
There you go. You’re back.
Okay. Yeah, like two desserts: chocolate and peanut butter and you mush them together, right?
Yeah, sure. That’s fine. Whatever. As long as you get those two flavors together, we’re good.
Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you so much. Congratulations on your book and I look forward to all the future ones that you got coming out. We got your contact info down below if people wanna check out your blog and your book. Any book seller I imagine it’s going to be showing up at Costco soon.
Yeah, hopeful. I’m hopeful. Since we already went for the second printing, so that’s a good sign, yeah.
Yeah, that’s awesome, yeah. If you guys enjoyed this, give us a thumbs up and subscribe to see more of these interviews and Carolyn, thank you so much for being here.
Thank you Carole.
Thanks everyone for watching. Bye now!