Keto doesn’t have to be so serious.
That’s the premise behind the new cookbook, “The Dirty, Lazy, Keto Cookbook” (Adams Media), out Tuesday. It features 100 recipes by Stephanie Laska, a California mother of two, and is co-authored by her husband of 16 years, William.
“I’ve always struggled with my weight,” says Laska, 46. “I actually thought I was being healthy, eating low-fat muffins, drinking skim milk, having dried fruit and granola bars.”
Laska says that she’s an emotional eater. Despite weighing close to 300 pounds in her 20s and early 30s, she still thought she was doing everything right. She was active and had no blood-pressure issues, so she “was totally in denial.”
But the reality of her situation started dawning on her. “The first time I realized there was a problem was when I was flying for a job interview and I couldn’t get the seat belt to snap,” Laska says.
Then, she had a harrowing experience on a ride with her son at Disneyland, when her stomach prevented the safety bar from closing all the way down, leaving a “huge gap.”
“He had no protection at all, and I panicked, thinking this is rock bottom,” Laska says. “It’s one thing to feel embarrassed about a seat belt, it’s another thing to feel like I put my child in danger.”
When she got home, she talked to a formerly heavy friend who had recently lost a lot of weight.
“He told me about eating higher fat foods, moderate protein and lower-carb, basically keto,” Laska says. “So I started researching and experimenting in the kitchen. I like to eat and needed a diet that allows food.”
After some “extreme trial and error” in the kitchen, she lost 10 pounds in a month, and the weight kept coming off. A year and a half later, she had lost about 140 pounds. Laska has maintained her weight loss for seven years.
“ ‘Dirty keto’ means breaking the rules,” Laska says. “It means you’re more flexible. When I say ‘lazy keto,’ it’s a style of keto that means only counting net carbs. I’m not using a bunch of graphs and calculators.”
Laska says you can make vegetables delicious by “romancing” them with butter, cream and sauces.
“At the end of a long day, I used to eat two bags of popcorn or handfuls of trail mix,” Laska says. “Now, I eat a giant bowl of salad or sweet potato boats. I’ll eat whole platters of twice-baked potatoes with no shame.”
Keep costs down
You don’t have to get your ingredients at a fancy grocery store, Laska says. “I use coupons at Walmart,” she adds, noting that her food budget has not gone up since creating her “lazy” keto recipes.
Slice it up
Pre-cut produce makes for easier snacking and less waste. “I keep chopped up veggies and cheese sticks in the fridge for easy snacking,” Laska says. “And I keep healthier foods at eye level in the fridge.”
Prep with purpose
“I’ll make a giant Crock-Pot or Instant Pot of chicken or ground turkey on Sunday or Monday, and then use that all week to add to my salads and whatever else I’m cooking,” Laska says. “I’ll add it to soups, tacos or enchiladas. Those machines are little miracles to me.”
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