I started baking in my early teens after I had developed a severe nut allergy and learned baking out of necessity, since at that time nut-free options or bakeries didn’t exist. And so I always found myself having to adapt recipes to either remove or replace the nut ingredients. I would have to research what would be right, or if a particular product was safe-and then experiment in the recipe. Need can drive passion and it turned out that I loved to bake.
Fast forward to my adult life, married to a pescatarian for 20 years, mother of a teenage daughter who prefers chicken fingers to anything else. I always felt like I wasn’t running a restaurant when it came to family meals so resisted making ‘two dinners’ based on everyone’s dietary needs and tastes but still didn’t want to pull my hair out trying to please my hangry family come supper time. Thankfully our daughter likes fish!
Then, once again life got in the way. After recovering from thyroid cancer and being constantly fatigued, first, it was suggested to eat minimal soy and soy products. Meals made harder just with that. No more tofu based or ‘veggie-meat’ based meals. And I was not nearly as fit as I was before the cancer, gained a ton of weight, was always tired, and developed ‘stress-induced pre-diabetes’. I didn’t even know that that was a thing, but here I was. I already knew that sugar and I weren’t great friends, a fact that was devastating since I adored baking & cake decorating but I wanted my energy back more than I wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth. My doctor urged me to try the Keto diet.
Initially, I admit, I was sceptical. I had trouble believing that eating that much fat was going to be good for me. But after a few weeks it was hard to deny that I had far more energy, lost weight, and could maintain that weight far better.
Once again, necessity being the mother of invention, I found myself needing to reach out to get more recipes and then adapt what I found, to suit my own dietary needs and that of my family. I was in a mad pursuit of a diet not being an exercise in deprivation and constant calls to the fun police, I was determined to get this diet to be the best of both worlds.
And at this point, I realized I am a pro at adaptation to a nut-free existence. So many baked keto products have almond flour and so many other dishes have meat products, this skill was in constant demand. And Just like when I was a much younger I found myself loving both the experimentation again and the glee when I hit upon something fabulous. Best yet, I loved when my family and friends would also get excited. All of this had no sugar! There, the idea was born.
My sister-in-law was over and she and my husband were snacking on parmesan crisps topped with olive and artichoke tapenades, with a skinny bitch cocktail, while I was checking the crème brûlées setting in the fridge, and making a salad niçoise with fresh tuna for supper. While others suggested it before, they insisted I start a blog to share all the recipes I had developed.
In truth, I’m a shy person, but I believe in constant self-improvement and thought maybe doing this would be a great reach for me in personal development as well as an opportunity to combine doing what I love with my living. They were fooling around with names — and then, voilà, they called me La Femme Nikketo. Immediately I loved it. I felt like a super hero baker and cook with a whisk in hand, whipping the carbs gone to make fabulous treats without the sugar.
That to me is simply joyous.