Low Carb Risotto

By April 4, 2013 December 3rd, 2020 Appetizer and Sides, Main Dish, Nutrition Education

 Testimony of the Day

Hi Maria! I’m Alexis. Military wife, mother of a six-year-old boy, and 3-year-old girl. My husband is deployed right now. This all started after Christmas of 2010.

I was horrified to see a picture of myself during the holidays looking like a blob. This particular holiday I had put on at least 10lbs. 10 LBS! over the course of 2 weeks. I had told myself after having my daughter the year before, and even after having my son in ’08 (I was 301 when I went into the hospital to have him), that I was going to be what I should be, what I deserve to be, for the children, for my husband, for myself. Everything ended up being a constant struggle of starvation and binge eating that was getting me nowhere fast. I’ve always been huge. I can remember at the beginning of middle school tipping the scales at 200. But, that picture was it for me. No more.

I started out with weight watchers. People lose weight on this program, right? I was losing some weight but just not as quickly as I had hoped to. I ran across a company that has some pretty great products with people having amazing results! After seeing what the distributors of these items were telling people to eat, it appeared to me that they were starving themselves to get the results so quickly. I still bought into the company but applied my own ways of eating. Healthy Whole Grains with lots of fruits and veggies along with all fat-free items! That year in 8 months I lost 50 lbs. Not bad right? But I always craved, always longed for cake, chocolate, potato chips! I fell right back into my old patterns and put on 30 lbs 🙁

I had pains. Carpel tunnel mostly. I swore my bed was made out of rocks and cursed the day I bought the stupid thing. I woke up every morning feeling like I had been beaten. Then came (what I swear was gallbladder pain) acid reflex, It just wasn’t coming up, it was sitting there burning in my stomach area? Oh, I call it the great pain… for hours I would sit and cry, sometimes it would bring me to the point of vomiting. I was prescribed one of those pain go away quickly meds. It worked, but I hated being on meds for the pain.

My mother introduced me to the book, Wheat Belly. With reading the book she went in for testing and found out she, in fact, was allergic to wheat along with an array of other things. I never went in for the testing but after seeing how she lost weight and her sending me the book, I read it. I actually cursed up a storm the whole time I read this book! I KNEW THE FOOD WE ATE WAS HORRIBLE FOR US! Anyway, through being a part of the WB community, I found you! You are so inspiring. The first book I purchased was The Art of Healthy Eating KIDS cookbook. They are the ones I really want to help from falling into these vicious ways. I just recently bought the Healthy Metabolism book which I am so EXCITED about. I’m reading away. But just by doing the little bit that I have I’m down to 215 at the moment. Started out around 280 Feb 2011 around 250 in March of this year. My arm pains are still diminishing, I love my bed and can not wait to sleep in it. Oh, and the great pain is gone, no meds. I know I’m just beginning my journey and my family’s journey. I do have a long way to go. More bad habits I need to drop and healthy ones to gain (MORE EXERCISE), but I thought I would share. Thank you! -Alexis




My heart goes out to all the people suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. This is a life-debilitating disease that some doctors often dismiss. I, however, believe that there are many causes to this.

INFLAMMATION: One of the reasons so many people are dealing with inflammation is because of a rapid rise in blood sugar, which causes biochemical changes in the cell. Choosing low carbohydrate foods is one of the best ways to decrease inflammation. When blood sugar rises, sugar attaches to collagen in a process called “glycosylation,” increasing inflammation (and increases wrinkles!) Athletes also mistakenly eat too many carbohydrates that hinder their healing and recovery time because they are constantly inflaming their joints.

SUGAR/GLUCOSE/FRUIT: Sugar decreases our immune system, which also increases fibro and chronic fatigue. There is something called a “phagocytic index” which tells you how rapidly a particular lymphocyte can gobble up a virus, bacteria, or cancer cell. 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. Sugar is disguised in our foods as sucrose, corn syrup, maltodexterin. Even fruits and fruit juices contain a lot of sugar. Sugar also increases blood sugar which causes inflammation and pain.HORMONES and LIVER FUNCTION: Some ways we get too much estrogen is exposure to chemicals that mimic estrogen such as many plastics (microwaving food in plastic dishes or using plastic wraps and containers) or eating non-organic food. Beef and chickens are typically given potent estrogenic substances (‘super-estrogens’) to make them more productive. People develop estrogen dominance as a result of a high-carb low-fiber diet, consuming excess fructose, drinking alcohol, having a “Tired-Toxic Liver (see the chapter in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism), or environmental factors…all of which we have some power to control. The liver is a filter of sorts. It detoxifies our body, protecting us from the harmful effects of chemicals, elements in food, environmental toxins, and even natural products of our metabolism, including excess estrogen. Anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function will result in excess estrogen levels. If your liver is tired and toxic, a special diet plan would be in order to help. Estrofactors is a product by Metagenics that detoxes the liver from excess estrogen (click HERE to find).CANDIDA: An overgrowth of yeast can cause muscle and joint pain, difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, insomnia, bowel dysfunction, a weakened immune system. These symptoms very similar to fibromyalgia. If you have been on antibiotics, have low moods and you crave carbs and sugar, you could have an overgrowth of yeast. A low carb, low sugar diet along with the correct probiotics help to kill the yeast. Click HERE for a proper probiotic (not all are created equal).

EXCITOTOXINS: Monosodium glutamate (MSG or Accent), aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal), hydrolyzed protein, are exitotoxins to our brain and should be eliminated by everyone. They are found in just about every boxed and packaged food out there. Excitotoxins excite the neurons in the brain, causing them to fire so rapidly that they die. Once these cells are dead, they can’t be remade. What is really scary is that when we initially eliminate these food additives, symptoms initially get worse as the body detoxifies.

PHOSPHATES: Most fibrous foods such as seeds, wheat, and oats have phytic acid. Many people with chronic fatigue and fibro have a genetic defect that prevents the kidneys from excreting phosphates. The phosphates build up in the bones, and eventually the muscles, ligaments and the tendons. The high phosphate level damages the cells’ ability to produce ATP (energy) and causes the muscles to spasm. Coconut fiber does not contain phytic acid so it helps improve mineral status when you replace this for wheat flour in your baked goods.

FREE RADICALS: An abundance of oxidative damage to the cells can cause fibro and chronic fatigue. Restoring the cells and eliminating free radicals is essential. Supplements are necessary for this to take place. For suggestions on supplements, click HERE.

MINERAL DEFICIENCIES: Magnesium is a miracle mineral that about 70% of people are deficient in (mainly because it takes 54mg of magnesium to process 1 gram of sugar/starch!). Insulin stores magnesium, but if your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can’t store magnesium so it passes out of your body through urination. Magnesium in your cells relaxes muscles. If your magnesium level is too low, your muscles will constrict rather than relax, which will increase pain and decrease your energy level. To fix this problem, eat a low carb diet and consume magnesium glycinate (click HERE to find).

FOOD ALLERGIES: Having a food allergy, such as gluten, inhibits your intestines to absorb iron and B-12; both are essential for energy production. When we inhale, we carry oxygen through the hemoglobin to the mitochondria of our cells that burn fat and create energy. If we are deficient in iron, we can’t carry the oxygen to the mitochondria.

NIGHT SHADES: Another possible source of pain comes from the “nightshade plants.” Vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine. Solanine can trigger pain in some people. If you are in question, I suggest eliminating these foods for 1 month to see what happens.

OTHERS: Not getting into REM sleep, imbalance of omega 3 to omega 6 ratio, a damaged immune system, parasites (which damage the immune system), lack of exercise.


If you want to watch me make a healthy “risotto” on KARE 11 TV show, click HERE.



One staple that every cook should have in their fridge is Fish Sauce. It is a special ingredient that risottotakes good food to amazing food. Fish Sauce, mushrooms and aged cheeses have something called “UMAMI.” Umami is a pleasant savory taste produced by glutamate and ribonucleotides, chemicals which occur naturally in many foods. Umami is subtle and not generally identified by people when they encounter it, but blends well with other tastes to intensify and enhance flavors; it plays an important role in making food taste delicious. Red Boat brand is traditionally fermented, not with wheat like most others. This bottle will last you a LONG time – you only use a few drops per dish, it’s strong stuff!

FYI: Trader Joe’s has a great price on scallops!

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 TBS fresh lime juice
4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp fish sauce
2 TBS cilantro
2 TBS minced green onions, divided
4 cups cauliflower, into “rice” (OR MIRACLE RICE IF YOU WANT TO KEEP PURE PROTEIN/FAT)
1 lb of scallops
2 tsp coconut oil (or 2 tsp butter)
Celtic sea salt and pepper

SAUCE: In a medium skillet, combine first 6 ingredients and boil until sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to generous 3/4 cup, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

“RICE”: Place the cauliflower heads into a food processor (click HERE to find the one I use), pulse until small pieces of ‘rice.’  Saute “rice” in a few tsp coconut oil until soft. Set on a plate and cover with sauce.

Scallops: Rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Add the oil to a 12 to 14-inch saute pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the oil begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Serve immediately over cauliflower risotto or Miracle Rice. Makes 4 servings.

Traditional Risotto: 449 calories, 20g fat, 23g protein, 45 carbs, 2g fiber
“Healthified” Risotto: 305 calories, 19g fat, 23g protein, 12 carbs, 4g fiber

Maria Emmerich

About 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.".


  • I love this post and the recipe sounds amazing. When you make your “rice”, do you cook the cauliflower before putting it in the food processor?

  • Saundra says:

    Maria, this looks really good. We don’t have a Trader Joes here, so I may have to substitute the seafood. The risotto looks wonderful. Now to get enough energy to stand in the kitchen long enough to cook! I suffer with fibro, chronic fatigue, Epstein Barr, Hashimotos, sjogrens, celiac. I’ve worked to improve my health for many years, so I’m not whining because I am better than I was. I usually can only do one thing each day though. I already worked in my yard for a little while trimming the die off from my perennials. I’m sitting here exhausted now. So well have to eat something very simple for dinner tonight. 🙂
    Thanks for this recipe and your wonderful website. I’ll plan on this tomorrow!

  • sue sherry says:

    As always, Maria you are spot on. I am thankful everday for you !

  • Kelly says:

    My favorite meal, so far, from the advanced 30 day meal plan. So delicious!

  • Jon in Maine says:

    This was an excellent meal. We will certainly make it again. Shouldn’t the sauce directions be, combine the first 5 ingredients? Not 6 as it states to add the cilantro after.