Jil Wild

Living in Abundance, lifestyle and food blog

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Back to Fitness!

Here I am back at the gym after many weeks of being too unwell with all the fluey chesty colds that have been going around.  I always sense when its time to return to workouts following a break by my body giving me little clues...first will come the aching lower back, then my knees will start to hurt. It would be really easy to interpret these little cues as reasons to NOT go running or lifting weights at the gym, but after a decade of back problems following an injury, and subsequent rehab at the hospital and then community gym, I've come to know my body pretty well!

It would be so easy to get disheartened at this picture...these weights are as light as I go nowadays but I'm not going to start judging myself or feeling self-conscious that I'm 'only' bicep curling 6kg. Its not about how heavy any person can lift, it's about what sort of resistance they're up against. A young, healthy person who trains regularly and eats well will face far less resistance to lifting five times this weight than I am at the moment.  So I'm going to give myself a pat on the back and enjoy the good feeling that comes from working out!

Along with returning to exercise, I am going to be focussing on losing weight again.  I was so poorly last month that feeding my body fuel to fight the virus was a priority.  Also, the timings of my illness was spookily in line with hitting ketosis...and I spent seven weeks wondering whether so called 'keto flu' was what I was suffering with.  Undoubtedly there was a bacterial infection on my chest because antibiotics dramatically improved things, but I can't help wondering if my body was getting itself used to ketosis.

With this in mind, I am reintroducing a low carb diet very slowly, especially as I am now back to running and gym.  I am not returning to eating bread, pasta or rice, and I can honestly say that I've given them up with absolutely no problem and haven't looked back! Same for potatoes, although  I've had a couple of sneaky roasties and spoonful of mash when the flu was making me feel the need for carbs. I am going to be continuing with a small helping of porridge for breakfast or lunch, and possibly replacing that with an exciting new breakfast smoothie from Nutribuddy which I am going to be trying out and reviewing soon, to see if it can help with losing some pounds that went back on over Christmas.

I'll check in soon to let you know how things are going!

Jil Wild Manning
Maternity & Fertility Reflexologist
Doula UK Recognised Birth Doula specialising in breastfeeding education and support.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Low Carb Rich Chocolate Truffles

Each Truffle is 126 Calories, 2.4g Carbs 11.5g Fat 2.8g Protein

I am, at the time of publishing this, less than a month into my ketosis dieting journey. The thought of giving up sugar in my diet has been in my consciousness for some years, as I read articles about this pure white and deadly substance whilst blood sugars rise and teeth rot.  I gave up sugar in tea years ago, and I pay a lot of attention to my dental health and to eating well...but sugar has always been my dark secret companion, my late night booty call when the house is asleep and there's no one awake to hear the rustle of a packet.  

I realise now that when I snuck downstairs and raided all the hiding places and found no sweet thing, and went instead for the (healthy in my mind, because it's not sweet) option of savoury snacks, that lots of those too, are full of sugar.  Hence my satisfaction once sufficient has been consumed and all my dopamine receptors are flashing and firing away up there.

This effect causes sugar to be an addictive substance.  It gives us a hit, like cocaine.  When babies are undergoing uncomfortable procedures, they will be given a little taste of glucose to help them cope, like a painkiller. The complex relationship with this substance starts early, and is associated with reward, painkilling, comfort and essential brain fuel...feeling good.

No wonder it's my stumbling block.  I am loving the tasty food I get to eat on the keto diet, especially all the yummy fat in all its glorious forms, but I still get hit by sugar cravings so unreasonably strong that I am driven to rummaging in all the places that Dave hids his and Jesse's supply of kitkats for their lunch.  I have rooted out every hiding place, and now he's given up trying to help me.  The kitkats are under the mattress in the spare bedroom, and there they have stayed.  I go and help myself, and so do they.  No one says a word.  How can I beat this addiction?

I am reassured by my keto chums that the cravings will pass, eventually.  In the meantime, I'm stocking up on sweet snacks like these truffles, to ease me through the hard times!  I've been trying recipes from pinterest, and have tweaked them to arrive at these tasty sweeties!

I've tried them on some unsuspecting friends and family who cannot believe that they're low carb.  With this in mind, some will be winging their way out as Christmas gifts.

How to make 10 Keto Chocolate Truffles


  • 50g Dark Chocolate, at least 70% Cocoa 
  • 3 tbsp. Almond Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 1 tsp full fat grass-fed butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp stevia
  • 1/4 tsp  Almond Essence/salted caramel flavouring (or any other flavouring you want to try, but careful of hidden sugars here)

  • Heat the chocolate in a melting pan or bowl over a saucepan of water to melt it. Be careful to not get any water actually in the chocolate. I have a special pan for this.

  • Whilst the chocolate is melting, combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Don't worry too much about getting the quantities accurate here, because different products will have varying consistency.  What you're going for here is a stiff paste which can be rolled into a ball leaving the bowl clean.  The almond butter I use is quite runny, so I use the flour to stiffen it.  The dairy butter will have a similar effect when chilled in the fridge.
These flavourings don't specify sugar or carb content...my guess is they're loaded, so go really easy on quantity. I could be wrong, but I usually err on the side of: if it tastes too good to be sugar free, it probably isn't!

  • Roll the mixture into little balls. 
  • Dip them into the chocolate one by one and roll them around to get them coated
  • Spoon the chocolate coated ball onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper
  • Once they're all glistening away on the paper, pop the tray into the fridge to chill for three hours.
They are a bit moreish!
Let me know if you try them or if you have any ideas for fooling my palate into thinking it's had a sugar hit.
Jil Wild Manning
Maternity & Fertility Reflexologist
Doula UK Recognised Birth Doula specialising in breastfeeding education and support.


Saturday, 2 December 2017

#keto dessert - Low Carb Cream Pie

 10 portions, each one is 448 Cal 44g Fat 7g Carb 10g Protein

This pie makes being on a low carb diet to reduce blood sugar much more bearable. It probably isn't as delicious as it's full on, made-with-sugar and real short crust pastry cousin would be, but granulated stevia gives sugar-free sweetness, full fat whipped cream and chocolate which is 75% cocoa solids gives at least the illusion of a decadent treat.

This particular pie is the result of a fair bit of experimentation and tweaking of various recipes, all of which use different ingredients to achieve the soft set cream texture, and to be honest, despite it's very appealing appearance, I'm not wholly convinced that the one in the picture is my favourite. (but I ate it all the same...it's a tough job...)

I am happy with the pastry base however, and baking it made the house smell like real flour and butter short crust pastry was cooking.  Again, recipes vary with some including egg yolks and cream, some using baking powder, but all using almond flour, butter, stevia, vanilla flavouring, cinnamon and salt.  I experimented with substituting around a quarter of the almond flour with coconut flour because the coconut flour is cheaper and slightly finer, but I don't want the coconut flavour to be too overpowering.

I am ok with using raw egg in recipes for food I'm going to consume, but I wouldn't risk giving my grand babies raw egg, or anyone whose health is compromised. If you want to try the egg option, handily you can use three yolks in the pastry, (and of course these get cooked) and three egg whites beaten in with heavy cream to give the filling a light airy texture.

There are several other ways of achieving texture in the cream other than using egg whites.  The pie pictured above uses 16oz (450g) of cream cheese...which for me, is a lot.  Like I say, I coped admirably, but a most acceptable alternative is texturizing the cream using sugar-free jelly before it sets, which also adds a fruit flavour. Lemon and lime jelly flavouring cream with a dash of lime juice and lemon or/and lime zest is my favourite.  Orange is a better flavour to combine with chocolate, but if you just want chocolate flavour then leaf gelatine can be used to thicken the cream.

I will link the original inspirations for this recipe here, so you can go and try these variations as part of your own ongoing research...like I say, it's a tough job!!Ruled Me Keto chocolate silk pie CJ Eats Keto  and for a pie crust that doesn't taste of coconut Low Carbist 

I use my Nigella cups for measuring...cups are an American measurement equating to
  • I Cup = 250ml or 8floz
  • 1/2 Cup = 125ml or 4floz
  • 1/3 Cup = 80ml or 3 floz
  • 1/4 Cup = 60ml or 2 floz
You'll need a 9inch Flan tin/dish and two medium/large mixing bowls

For the sweet pastry crust:

  • 1 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Stevia (I use Tesco Truvia)
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (full fat grass fed)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
For the filling and topping: 

  • 16oz cream cheese ( That's just shy of two tubs of Philadelphia full fat)
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 Cup Stevia
  • 1/2 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. cold strong real coffee
  • 25g of dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids or greater)
For the crust:
  • Pre heat your oven to 190/375 gas mark 5
  • In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crust, mixing well
  • Add the butter in cubes and work with fingertips into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Add the vanilla flavouring and egg, and combine with your hands into a dough ball
  • The dough will be really crumbly, but don't worry, you're not going to be rolling it out, instead just press it into a well buttered 9inch flan dish, making sure it's evenly distributed.
  • Prick the base with a fork and cook for 11 minutes, then cover with foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • Once it's cooked, cool it right down before adding your filling

For the filling:
  • Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and half of the stevia using a wisk/hand held mixer until smooth and creamy and well blended.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the cream and the other half of the stevia until it forms soft peaks
  • Fold 3/4 of the whisked cream gradually into the cream cheese mixture, being careful to not lose the fluffiness of the cream
  • Spoon this mixture into your cold pie crust and smooth down the surface
  • Top this with the remaining 1/4 of the whipped cream
  • Melt 25g of dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids or greater)
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top
  • Chill in the fridge for 3 hours before serving

You can make this without the whipped cream topping and just grate the chocolate on top if you like.

Jil Wild Manning
Maternity & Fertility Reflexologist
Doula UK Recognised Birth Doula specialising in breastfeeding education and support.


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Keto Lunch - Chicken Chickpea Slaw & Kale

*Carbs 11.1g *Fat 23.4g *Protein 18.8g *Cal 349

One of the often-heard complaints about the ketosis diet is that people suffer constipation because of the lack of fibre.  This lunch addresses that with chickpeas, kale and cabbage, and is super-tasty and filling into the bargain. My raw kale is prepped in a special way and is gorgeous just as it is, or you can crisp it up in the pan with some coconut oil and spices, and if I do this I throw some linseeds or fennel seeds in just for the hell of it.  Here's the lowdown:

Tasty Soft Raw Kale

  1. A bowlful of Kale
  2. The juice of half a lemon
  3. Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  4. Teaspoon Maldon Salt

Wash your Kale thoroughly and drain and dry it...I usually kind of rub it in a fresh tea towel!  Then put it in your bowl and add everything on the list. Work it all together with your hands, squeezing the leaves and making sure they're all coated in the oily lemon salty mixture.  Then just leave it in the fridge for a while, maybe two or three hours, and then take it out and give it another go with the hand massage.  This breaks down the fibres of the leaves a bit, as does the acidity of the lemon juice, giving a nice, soft vegetable which you can use in salads without having to cook it first.

The slaw is a great low carb staple.  I omit carrots, as being a root vegetable they can be sweet with sugars and therefore high in carbohydrate.  I just chop half a white cabbage into fineish strips, and add to a bowl which has a tablespoon or two of Hellmans Mayo. (On a ketosis diet fats are unlimited, so it doesn't matter how much you use)  Sometimes I add some herbs to taste...chives in the summer are lovely.  A squeeze of lemon or lime balances out the creamy mayo, and you can get creative and add sunflower, linseed, or sesame seeds too.  Toasted fennel seeds give an interesting twist, and half a clove of garlic grated into the mayo takes it to another level.

Whilst I'm finding my feet on the keto diet I am bulking out my meals with chicken and I've even eaten some stewing steak after many years of being mainly vegetarian.  I imagine that once I'm used to balancing the macro nutrients I will be able to get my protein from pulses and tofu and cheese.  Instead of eating a whole chicken breast, here I combined it with around a quarter of a tin of chickpeas for fibre and just cos I love them.

Enjoy! And don't forget to hit me up with some more meal ideas! x


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Healthy Tasty Keto Lunch recipie.

*Carbs 33.6g  *Fat 19.1g *Protein 11.1g *Cal 334

Green Garden Soup is one of my all time favourite winter soups, using as it does two of my favourite vegetables, sprouts and leeks. Ironically frozen peas give this it's fresh light flavour, aided by the fresh and dried tarragon which give this it's distinctive taste. A little fresh garlic grated into the soup as it simmers along with lemon juice at the end of cooking are added in before seasoning well and blitzing.

If like me you are reducing your high blood sugar by following the ketosis diet, you can add high fat ingredients like butter to toast some almonds in and a generous dollop of Philadelphia full fat soft cheese as tasty toppings for this nutritious lunch.

For the soup you'll need:

1. Packet of sprouts
2. 3 leeks
3. Small packet of frozen minted peas
4. Juice of one lemon
5. Fresh tarragon
6. Dried tarragon
5. 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, grated
6. Black pepper and salt for seasoning
7. Vegetable stock cube

I just cut the hard stalks from the sprouts and remove any dirty or damaged leaves and thrown them in a pan with some butter, gently heating. Trim and slice the leeks vertically to give you a chance to part the curls and wash between them. Then slice the leeks and add to the gently sweating pan. Once the leeks have softened a bit you can make up the stock cube with boiling water and add that to the pan along with the fresh and dried tarragon, and simmer for twenty minutes or until the sprouts are nicely soft but haven't changed colour to that kind of over-cooked sludgy green, as that will spoil the bright green freshness of the soup.  Towards the end of the cooking I throw in the peas, because they don't need actual cooking and will, like the sprouts, lose their fresh greenness if left in boiling water too long. At this stage I grate a clove or two of fresh garlic in, along with a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.  Season well.

When it's cool, blitz it into a thick soup.

For the topping:
1. Handful of flaked almonds saluted in
2. Knob of full fat grass-fed butter like Kerrygold
3. A teaspoon or so of Philadelphia full fat soft cheese

Heat the butter in a frying pan, and throw in the almonds, making sure they toast both sides but don't burn.  This lovely bubbly butter mixture can be poured onto the soup once the almonds have changed colour, or you can combine the soft cheese in with it to heat and melt before pouring.  Otherwise, just spoon the cheese on separately. Either way its lovely with a good grating of black pepper and some Maldon Salt for texture and crunch.

There's lots of fibre in this meal too. Enjoy!

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