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Caramel Apple Flan

By September 30, 2014February 18th, 2023Breakfast, Dairy Free, Desserts


This is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. By eating this way, you will begin to heal your cells (less sugar means less glycation; more on glycation is in chapter on fructose). You will keep transforming into the happy and healthy person you want to be. It took me years to heal my cells: it wasn’t something that happened in a month, but with time, my leptin resistance went awCaramel Apple Flanay. Leptin resistance is an issue I see with almost every client. After years of eating a low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diet, our cells become resistant to the hormone leptin. This explains why when you eat large amounts of food, you never get the sense of feeling full, a state you might experience when you first adopt a well-formulated keto-adapted diet.

With time, however, this diet will heal your leptin receptors, and soon enough you will be full and satisfied for very long periods of time. I never thought that two meals a day would ever be enough for me. But when you eat a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet, your insulin level s stay nice and even. Hunger happens when your blood sugar dips too low. By never letting it get too high, you avoid the big insulin spike that makes your blood sugar go too low. To find out what you may have been doing wrong on your “low carb” diet, check out Keto-Adapted.

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A lot of American’s are ingrained with the idea that they should be eating an apple a day so they pick a big red Golden Delicious feeling like they are doing a “body good.”

Not necessarily; many times we focus on taste, or should I say sugar content, to stimulate sales. In the book, Eating on the Wild Side, Jo Robinson’s reviews a 2009 study that refers to 46 overweight men with high cholesterol and triglycerides who agreed to participate in an eating experiment. Half of the men stayed on their regular diets, serving as a control group. The other 23 added an apple to their fare. The goal was to determine if eating an apple a day would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. At the end of the study, the men who ate the apple a day had higher levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol than before the study began. The conclusion is that the apples used were too low in phytonutrients to lower the men’s bad cholesterol, and too high in sugar causing an increase in their triglycerides.

Caramel Apple Flan


For example, most animals have learned how to become fat and how to become thin. They do it in a tightly regulated way… Hibernating mammals will double their weight and fat in the fall in preparation for winter… I realized that I can learn by reading the studies about these animals. As I read them, I had another insight, which had not been appreciated before; these animals develop all the features of metabolic syndrome that we do. They get fat. They’re visceral fat goes up. They get fatty liver. The triglycerides go up in their blood. They get insulin-resistant… It’s a normal process.

Millions of years ago, our ancestors consumed fructose from natural fruits rather than the massive doses of high fructose corn syrup like we do today, but they still experienced this fat-gaining phenomenon. During the summer, they would consume large amounts of fruit and would put on weight in order to survive the famine during the colder months when fruits were unavailable. This led to a genetic mutation that resulted in a greater uric acid response to fructose. The more sugar we eat, the more uric acid our bodies produce, which increases our liver and intestines’ ability to absorb sugar, which is a bad thing! Obese people absorb fructose effortlessly, where skinny people don’t absorb it as well.

It is a detrimental snowball effect for my obese clients; the more sugar they eat, the more uric acid you make; which leads to the sensitivity to fructose absorption. Once you head down that path, it is almost impossible to stop. This is why I have to get so extreme with clients and cut out fruit too. If you start soon enough and cut out all foods that are creating the fat-creating snowball, you can recover, but if you don’t, you will lose the fat-burning, energy-producing mitochondria and you can’t restore them. At this point, you reset your fat cells at higher set point and our bodies want to stay at that set point for homeostasis.

You can try and try to lose weight, but our fat cells have memory. They are cozy in your body and think they are protecting you. This causes the hormone leptin to be misfiring too. Leptin and ghrelin are very important hormones that work like “checks and balances” that manage hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, produced in the stomach, increases appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a message to our brain when we are full. This imbalance causes us to intensely crave food and never feel full. The worst part is that we don’t crave broccoli, we crave high-calorie sweets and starchy foods. Over time, this imbalance can easily lead to long-term weight gain. Since insulin, ghrelin and leptin, function as significant indicators to the central nervous system in the long-term regulation of energy balance, decreases of circulating insulin and leptin and increased ghrelin concentrations, studies prove that it leads to increased caloric intake and eventually contribute to increased fat cells during high consumption of fructose.

HEALTH TIP: A damaged liver causes low moods and can lead to serious depression. Are you depressed? Get your liver checked and eliminate all foods that bog down your liver.


NO FRUIT? How will I get nutrients? When I am asked if I eat fruits, I jokingly say of course! I eat avocado, olives and tomatoes! But most people think I am a bit extreme when I limit most vegetable consumption for my clients too. To get keto adapted, even some low-starch vegetables may keep someone with a damaged metabolism out of ketosis. Which is why my Accelerated 30 day meal plans are so detailed with what low-starch vegetables are allowed to get into ketosis fast.

We need to update the recommendation of eating 9 servings of fruits and vegetables for maximum health. This suggestion has a few issues with it. A few years ago, I read that most kids actually do get the recommended servings for fruits and vegetables. Are you shocked to read this? Yep, they eat French fries, onion rings and ketchup. Sad, but it does fit the guidelines. Will you reap the benefits of eating 7-9 servings of these foods? Absolutely not.

So even if you aren’t even eating French fries or ketchup, eating 3 bananas a day isn’t a good idea. Studies prove that the current state of the produce we consume is relatively low in phytonutrients, and much higher in sugar than it was in our Paleo days. All of the fruits and vegetables displayed in our supermarkets have much less nutrients than what you would find in the wild. Consumers want fruit that tastes sweet. This is why we now have “Cotton Candy Grapes!” Traditional grapes weren’t sweet enough, so we modified them to satisfy our kid’s desire for sweets in order for them to eat fruit. The sad part is, we think it is a good thing when our kids eat massive amounts of fruits. The more palatable our produce has become, the less beneficial they are for our health. The most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste.

Sure many high sugar fruits have healthy antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C and E. Antioxidants protect cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food BUT you produce little to no free radicals if you stay in a keto-adapted state. And what is interesting is an orange that is high in vitamin C also has a lot of sugar. Glucose and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so what happens when the sugar levels go up? They compete for one another when entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of vitamin C into the cells. If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cell. It doesn’t take much: a blood sugar value of 120 reduces the phagocytic index by 75%. So when you eat sugar, think of your immune system slowing down to a crawl. Instead, try parsley or bell peppers!

Caramel Apple Flan

Fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, oregano and basil are the most nutritious plants you can consume. For example, everyone things spinach is the perfect food, but fresh oregano has eight times the amount of antioxidants! Sure, we don’t eat a cup of oregano like we would spinach, but it does go to show that a little bit provides a huge benefit. Instead of consuming fruits and starchy veggies that have fructose and raise blood sugar quickly, I suggest using herbs, vanilla beans and spices more often in your cooking preparations.

Caramel Apple Flan

Caramel Apple Flan

Maria Emmerich
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 cups organic cream or canned coconut milk if dairy sensitive
  • 1 cup Natural Sweetener plus 1 tsp stevia glycerite for best sweetness
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp apple extract
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract or one vanilla bean scraped clean
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • CARAMEL SWIRL: omit if dairy sensitive
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup Natural Sweetener
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • GARNISH with bacon crumbles if desired!


  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
  • In a large bowl, place the cream or coconut milk, natural sweeteners, eggs, extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Divide evenly among 8 ramekins.
  • Place ramekins to a large roasting pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake until the custard has barely set (a knife inserted halfway between the edge and the center should come out clean), 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the water bath, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. DO AHEAD: The flans can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve cold. Drizzle with caramel before serving.
  • To make caramel: Before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go – the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Work fast or the sweetener will burn. Heat butter on high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart (2 L) or 3-quart (3 L) saucepan. As soon as it comes to a boil, watch for specks of brown (this is brown butter….so good on veggies!). Immediately add the Swerve Confectioners and the cream to the pan. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, and then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


Traditional Flan = 566 calories, 31.6g fat, 6.4g protein, 69g carbs
"Healthified" Flan = 251 calories, 23.9 g fat, 6.2g protein, 3.6g carbs
"Healthified" Coconut Milk Flan (no sauce) = 247 calories, 23.3g fat, 7.1g protein, 5.2g carbs


“Hi Maria Emmerich! On May 4th, 2015, my wife convinced me to join her in adopting a keto-adapted lifestyle. I was skeptical, but desperate for a change in my weight and my health. I weighed 288 lbs, my body ached constantly, I had gut and intestinal issues, I was pre-diabetic and I had been on triglyceride medicine for the last 10 years. That first week was brutal. My body was not happy with the drastic changes I was making.

It took 4-5 weeks for my system to convert to a Keto-lifestyle, but I have not looked back since. I love the way I feel and I love the “healthified” food that I eat.

I do not ever feel deprived of all the sugar and carbs that used to be such a huge part of my former life. I currently weigh in at 198 lbs (90 lbs in a little over 7 months), which is lower than my HS weight. I have never felt better. I just recently started easing into an exercise routine, but it has been ALL diet up till this point. My pre-diabetes is gone and I am off my triglyceride medicine.

I want to thank you Maria for indirectly helping me to get my life back.” – Kelly

Most people I consult are doing keto totally wrong. Get fast results with the my Mind-blowing Keto School!

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The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Sliced


Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Sheila says:

    What a great read, Maria!!! I really appreciate so much all the ways you educate us, and therefore, help us to continue improving our lives! This Caramel Apple Flan looks so tasty! I look forward to trying it! Have a great day!

  • Donna Zenner says:

    After eating the ME (Maria Emmerich) way for 1 1/2 yrs, I am off my medicine, my hair is thicker than it has ever been, I feel good and all of this is NOT A SACRIFICE! I can stay at my healthy weight (as I dropped 10% of my weight upon starting this way of eating). Even if I cheat a little, I balance out as soon as I eat the ME way again for a few days. I do not count calories or anything. I eat the ME way when I am hungry and until I am full. People ask me how long will I eat this way….I say, “Until I don’t want to feel this good!” Thanks Maria for life renewed 🙂

  • I’ve been looking for a nice keto dessert involving coconut milk! Thank you.

  • angela says:


    I am a bit concerned after reading about consuming fruits and vegetables. What about for babies and kids? I have a 9 month old and I don’t feed her any grains, but I do feed a lot of organic fruits, vegetables, egg yolks, yogurt, coconut (including coconut flour). I’m not really sure now if I’m hurting her by giving her fruits? And she prefers the sweet taste of course so it’s hard enough trying to get her to eat anything that isn’t sweet. Any recommendations on feeding guidelines?

    • cemmerich says:

      Personally, I don’t feed my boys any fruit (other than avocados, olives, tomatoes which they love) on any regular basis. They will eat a couple strawberries or raspberries when in season but usually are good with just a couple. Sugar is sugar in the body whether it comes from fruit or sugar cane. You also skew their taste buds towards sweeter things the earlier and more frequently you give it to them. My son Kai rejects most treats I give him after a couple bites. He just prefers savory tastes. Micah’s favorite treat is lasagna! lol.

      • angela says:

        If I dont give her any fruits except the ones you mention, will she be missing out on key nutrients? By the way, she absolutely loves your strawberry avocado pudding.

        • cemmerich says:

          Nope, there are lots of other sources (especially herbs and spices) that are better sources without the added sugar. 🙂

  • Sara says:

    “But most people think I am a bit extreme when I limit most vegetable consumption for my clients too. To get keto adapted, even some low-starch vegetables may keep someone with a damaged metabolism out of ketosis.”

    Now this is news to me! I can’t even imagine what LOW starch veggies could be carby enough to avoid. Kinda makes me feel like nothing is safe!

    • cemmerich says:

      This is for the early stage of keto adaption and weight loss and healing. I try to keep client at 20g of total carbs a day or less for best results. 😉

  • heather says:

    There is something wrong with the caramel recipe. I’ve watched the video and made it 3 times but I just end up with butter soup. Does Serve go bad?

    • cemmerich says:

      I haven’t had swerve go bad. Let it cool a bit and it should be better. I make this caramel all the time with great success. 🙂

  • Eric says:

    I’m confused about how many servings this makes… It says Serves 6 at the top of the recipe, but you say to divide the mixture between 8 remekins. Is the nutritional analysis based on 6 or 8 servings?

    • cemmerich says:

      The nutritional info is for 6. When I do the nutritional comparison I match up the weight with the “Traditional” version so it is an apples to apples comparison. 🙂

  • kelly mac says:

    Can you confirm sweetener for caramel? In the written instructions, it says “Immediately add the Just Like Sugar® and the cream to the pan.” but I don’t see Just Like Sugar in the ingredient list; has swerve confectioners. Thanks. Looks delish!!

  • Sara says:

    Just Just Like Swerve Brown work in your caramel recipe, or does it clump up with the butter?

  • Tasha Marsh says:

    Hi Maria, Just want to encourage you to read a book by Ray Comfort called Scientific Facts in the Bible. It is a quick read. Your statement of “Millions of years ago our ancestors….” is an evolutionary belief. Much of the knowledge of what you are sharing with others concerning health and the human body is so true and backed by science, and you are right on! However, it is my hope that you will give the glory to God, the Creator and designer of the human body. Acknowledging Him and His amazing design with how the body functions in ketosis is essential! I know you will have more success in all you do if you will give the Lord credit and glorify Him!

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      I am a Christian and have been all my life. I think that you can believe in God and some aspects of evolution. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    • JOJO says:

      Amen! Well said. Thank you for encouraging Maria. God Bless.

  • karen says:

    I’m not a fan of swerve. I’m sensitive to the cooling mouth feel so everything tastes like spearmint gum to me. Can I use “just like sugar” instead?

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