I have not put much stock in the “fad diets” circulating for decades. Atkins, keto, The Zone, diabetic, low carb, high protein, the juice cleanse, etc., etc. I typically see these diets as someone’s attempt to make a lot of money with little or questionable science to back it up. So, when I recently listened to a podcast my brother-in-law encouraged me to try, I was skeptical.
Dr. Chris Palmer, M.D., was the guest on this show. Dr. Palmer is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. He is currently the Dean of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (Dr. Chris Palmer M.D., 2023). My understanding is that he has been making the rounds of interviews with multiple podcasts or T.V. shows. He discussed the ketogenic diet on the podcast I was listening to.
For those that are not aware of what “keto” is, in more simple terms, it focuses on reducing carbs and increasing fats (Harvard Health Publishing, 2020). Doing this correctly is supposed to cause your body to start burning ketones. Ketones are a natural chemical reaction our bodies make when our liver breaks down fat (Diabetes U.K., 2023). So, by burning more ketones, we are supposed to burn more fat and lead a healthier life.
So, am I all in on a diet? Well, no. But I do think there is something about keto diets that makes for a decent argument. According to experts, keto diets have been used on epileptic children when other forms of intervention did not work (Harvard Health Publishing, 2020). That would be medication and surgery. The keto diet is known to reduce episodes in pediatric patients, but only as a last resort. I take away from this that we need to check in with a medical professional and a trained dietician to plan and utilize this diet efficiently.
Another con to this diet is people with diabetes. Type 1 is more at risk, but even type 2 can suffer from ketoacidosis (Diabetes U.K., 2023). Ketoacidosis is a buildup of acid in a diabetic’s bloodstream. This can be fatal if not appropriately managed. Being the spouse of such a person, I would be devastated if my partner and I tried a diet that landed her in the hospital.
After listening to this podcast and Dr. Palmer’s arguments for these types of diets, I felt that, at the very least, a severe reduction in carbs would be a good solution for us. Not a drop to the point where we eat zero carbs, but maybe 30 or 60. I would like to try and stay under 75g of carbs a day. We’ll see how I do.
I was looking up a keto recipe I could attempt when I discovered a broccoli recipe with shredded chicken. I didn’t like the recipe, so I created this one while keeping the idea of broccoli with shredded chicken. You’ll notice I use half a pound of cream cheese and two cups of heavy cream. I also try to steam the broccoli before adding the cream and cheese. If you like your broccoli crunchier, I suggest skipping the steaming and adding the cheese and cream. The broccoli will still cook with the sauce; you should have some al dente broccoli. I also used my pre-shredded chicken; I had leftovers from my enchilada recipe. The enchilada sauce on the chicken gave the cream sauce an excellent little addition.
“Keto” Creamy Broccoli Chicken
4 cups shredded chicken
1 pound of broccoli florettes
½ onion – diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
8oz of plain cream cheese – cut into 1” cubes
2 cups of heavy cream
¼ cup of chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups shredded cheddar
Salt and Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they reach 165F.
- Once fully cooked, allow the chicken to rest for five minutes before shredding it with a fork.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Pour the oil, onions and garlic into the pan and bring up to heat.
- Sweat the onions and garlic for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli and chicken stock
- Cover the pan and allow the broccoli to steam for 2 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and the heavy cream. Cook until the cream cheese is melted into the cream.
- Add the shredded chicken and stir to coat.
- Add the cheese and allow it to melt.
- Serve over rice or noodles.