The explosion of ketogenic diet headlines may lead you to believe this is a new way of eating, but in fact, humans have been eating the ketogenic diet for tens of thousands of years. It’s only recently, say in the past several hundred years or so, that we stopped eating this way. This is a long period for testing safety and efficacy in our health.
— David Perlmutter, MD
Keto Cardamom Snowballs are my husband’s favorite cookies and my go-tos for bringing to friends’ homes for a healthy holiday dessert. My husband, who lost 20 pounds on a ketogenic diet, likes them so much he’s given them the nickname, “B.C.E.s,” for Best Cookies Ever.
Good news then that they won’t raise your blood sugar or add to your waistline — assuming you don’t gorge.
Keto Cardamom Snowballs
(low carb, no refined sugar or flour)
Yield: About 36 cookies
Serving Size: 2 cookies
- 2 cups organic nut “flour” (can be mix of almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts you pulse in a blender)
- 1 cup finely chopped organic walnuts
- 2 Tbsps organic coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 heaping tsp organic ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup grass-fed ghee, softened but not melted
- 1/2 cup granulated birch-based (not corn-based) erythritol or xylitol. (Hard to find in stores so I order Beyond Sugar online)
- 1 large pastured egg
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp organic stevia extract
- Optional: ¼ cup powdered (ground) [birch-based not corn] erythritol or xylitol (just put the Beyond Sugar into a blender and pulse — let settle before lifting lid or you may get a swirling powder cloud)
1. For the cookies, preheat oven to 325 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together nut mix flour, chopped walnuts, coconut flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy — about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla and stevia extracts.
4. Beat in nut flour mixture until dough comes together (will be sticky — that’s ok).
5. Form dough into 3/4-inch balls or globs and place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart. (Note that even the best formed balls likely won’t hold their shape as perfect balls)
6. Bake 11 – 13 minutes, or until just barely golden brown.
7. Optional for “snow:” While cookies are still warm, sprinkle powdered sweetener over cookies.
8. Use spatula to place into container for freezer. Cookies are more fragile warm and room temperature; so keep in freezer for best results.
We prefer to keep in freezer and eat frozen!
Serving size: ~ 2 cookies.
Each serving has 5 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber total net carbs = 3 g / 170 Calories; 16 g Fat (78.7% calories from fat); 5 g Protein; 5 g Carbohydrate; 2 g Dietary Fiber; 26 mg Cholesterol; 117 mg Sodium.
Read on for info on the health benefits of a ketogenic (keto) diet, from my book, Beat Autoimmune:
Consider Ketosis…With Cautions
If you’re up on recent health and diet trends, chances are good that you’ve at least heard of the ketogenic (or just “keto”) diet. While it may seem like the latest fad diet, it’s actually the way we’ve been eating for the past 200,000 years — with the exception of the last 100 years, thanks to the advent of modern agriculture. Our biology is built for feast and famine cycles, not for 24 x 7 feasting and snacking. Until recent history, we feasted when food was available, and we stored it as fat to draw down on for longer periods of famine.
Turns out that the keto diet, partnered with periodic fasting, enables us to mimic ancestral feast-famine cycles. By emphasizing healthy fats, moderating protein intake and restricting carbs (roughly 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs), hunger is greatly reduced, calorie intake goes down, energy soars, brain function improves, inflammation is lowered, and insulin resistance can even be reversed.
Research shows that a ketogenic diet may be especially beneficial for people with neurological conditions including epilepsy or other seizure disorders, MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s; and for people with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and/or who are overweight or obese. As with almost anything that sounds too good to be true, there are cautions. Thanks to The Paleo Mom, Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, for sharing these red flags: The ketogenic diet may harm liver, kidney and thyroid function; it may mess with the balance of your microbiome; it can create hormonal imbalances; and may increase cardiovascular risk factors and lower bone mineral density.
Bottom line, before diving into a high fat, very low carb, ketogenic diet, work with your trusted healthcare practitioner to determine whether or not you are a good keto candidate. You will want to closely monitor your blood sugar levels, kidney, liver, and thyroid function, and markers of inflammation to make sure you stay out of the harm zone. For many people, dipping in and out of ketosis periodically, like a few times per week or 4 times per year, may be ideal to derive the greatest benefits while avoiding the biggest pitfalls.
For more help easing into a ketogenic diet consider these awesome books:
Take good care!