You know what has always been my problem with each and every diet? And, I’m not even going to mention the obvious dangers of yo-yo dieting or body image. Just those trendy “lifestyle change” kind, like Paleo or Keto, or Intermittent fasting, or some other popular dietary restriction with a cult following. Here! I just said it, it’s in the name! It’s a dietary restriction, this whole “restriction” just doesn’t sit right with me. Can you think of any positive combinations with this negative adjective? I sure can’t…
So this unpleasant association kept me away from those trendy Keto, low-carb followers for quite some time. Just thinking about not being able to enjoy some foods I used to consider keto-unfriendly made me sad. Having to potentially never visit some of my favorite not-so-restrictive restaurants would cause anxiety in me. You won’t take McDonald’s from me! Don’t even try!
There’s one more thing I am quite convinced of, and that is everything we believe depends on the angle we choose. Our very personal perspective makes us too stubborn sometimes...and what’s ironic is that it is also restrictive. It’s restricting us from exploring and having an open mind. So, I’ve decided to look into those low-carb, keto, gluten-free trends, and sort of INCLUDE them (as an option) into my cooking life.
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of inclusive eating. If you haven’t heard about it, it basically means expanding your food choices. Giving yourself the freedom to try new foods, exploring the world of various ingredients, treating yourself to a variety of foods.
I think that creating meals that are both delicious and healthy, flavorful and comforting is another way to look at what is now called “inclusive eating”. Because this way you’re including your health and nutrition goals into the equation. I firmly believe in the “when there’s a will, there’s a way” principle. Food allergies, personal health and fitness goals, preferences, and intolerances should not make our diets restrictive. It only means that we need to find new ways to cook, and perhaps new foods to include in our diet. See what I did here? Restrictive became inclusive! Magic of positive approach and applying perspective (winkwink).
Looking for interesting ingredient swaps, unlikely combinations, experimenting with flavors and textures have always piqued my curiosity. I successfully conducted multiple cooking experiments, like making delicious meringue fromaquafaba, creating the perfect flourless chocolate cake, making fresh pasta using black beans. And I have to say, my food exploration has mostly been successful.
Cooking alternatives and ingredient substitutes can come in handy when you’re in a pantry pinch or on a mission to feed a variety of picky eaters. Just in the small habitat of our SideChef Studio, we have a whole bunch of people who are either vegetarian or only eat dairy-free, don’t eat gluten, or only eat kosher, trying to bulk up in the gym or trying to fit in a new bikini for the summer, and have some very peculiar food allergies (like avocado or one particular type of cheese)... You can only imagine how challenging it could be to organize a meal together. But we find a way because we are willing to! I see it as an enjoyable and inspiring challenge to work with what we have, recreate, adjust, swap, and still cook delicious food.
There are some personal reasons that made me leave my “restrictions are stupid” attitude behind as well. In recent years, my immediate family’s eating habits began to shift. My parents have joined the Keto crowd pursuing their personal health and fitness goals. And it worked wonders for them, they’ve been following the Keto diet for years now, and I can see the positive change it has brought for them. My little brother suddenly found out that the reason behind some of his health issues was as simple as not knowing that he had gluten allergies. So he had to change his usual ways and limit gluten in his diet significantly… my whole culinary world was turning upside down right in front of my eyes.
Every time I went back to Australia to visit my family I actually saw two things. One, mom and dad were looking leaner, healthier, and were more and more active, which brought me joy as well. And two, the struggle between seeing positive results, improving their lives, and the never ending (at times overwhelming) sense of longing for those deliciously forbidden carbs. It was like watching the fight between good and evil, a very dramatic experience I must say.
Is there a way to have both? Could we find balance? What if just this one time…(doesn’t really work)...
Let me tell you one more thing about my family. McDonald’s was a very important part of my childhood. Happy meals were a treat, we’d go and get McDonald’s for dinner from time to time, enjoy the strawberry milkshakes in the summer…
Despite having an interest in cooking all the different cuisines available in the world, despite all my experimenting with spices and ingredients, the majestic golden arches have remained an occasional comfort for me even into my adulthood. And I knew my family would love for us to have that McDonald’s dinner together. So, there it was, a new exciting culinary challenge presented itself!
I was going to Ketofy… I mean Ketofize...or is it Ketonize? Anyways I was going to make a Keto-friendly, low-carb yet still delicious Filet-o-Fish! I was going to find the solution for my family and all the Keto-followers who missed McDonald’s!
I have experimented with alternative baking before, and every time found a better way to bake something gluten-free or use some interesting ingredients. My McDonald’s Keto project took about a week of kitchen experiments in the search of that near-perfect result. But it was absolutely worth the time!
So now, you can enjoy these low-carb Keto-perfect creations of mine and save yourselves some time. These keto-friendly and gluten-free burger buns are just amazing! And you can recreate them following some simple tips I’m going to provide you with. I’m going to walk you through the whole recipe and show how I made Keto McDonald’s possible. How I single-handedly created a solution for my parents and all the Ketonians...or Ketoans?... Ketoers? Whatever you prefer, Keto-supporters. I’ve taken care of all the essentials for you, everything from the tartare sauce to the crunchy “crumb” coating for the fish filets has been modified for the keto diet, whilst still remaining as humbly close to the real thing as possible. Enjoy!