The “orangish” country
Even though orange is not a Mediterranean fruit originally, (we got it from China) in the past century it became the symbol of southern European countries. Many Mediterranean recipes are including orange juice, orange peel, orange bloom water or even orange seeds. In Greece, they can be seen at every step! A special bitter orange tree grows all around Athens streets. In the springtime, the smell of orange bloom fills the air. It even protects the city from the bad odour of garbage that can be accumulated in some areas. Greece, in fact, is one of the main producers of this fruit in Europe.
The unforgettable aroma
Yes, oranges taste and smell great. We are all used to drinking orange juice in the morning. Sometimes we have it in salads, stews, soups and of course – desserts. Especially around winter holidays. Everything smells like cinnamon and oranges. This goes for north and south! But when you look at it from a ketogenic point of view, just a small amount of orange juice will kick you out of ketosis! Why – you might ask yourself. Well, an orange contains about 6 cubes of sugar. Of course, it’s fructose, but fructose is very hazardous to our liver health. Especially if we consume a lot during our whole life. It can create fatty liver, fat around the waist, and even around your gut. So, in the end, modern fruits are not that healthy as we usually think.
Why are oranges not welcome in keto world?
You might have heard that orange is not welcome in keto diet or keto lifestyle. The fruit itself might be rich in calcium, vitamins A, C, magnesium, potassium and so on… But the content of sugar simply puts it in a list of unwanted ingredients on a keto diet. I would like to invite you to see this video by Dr Eric Berg, which will say all you need to know about oranges and orange juice:
How about the peel?
Orange zest is a totally different story. It contains most of the attractive smell and it’s loaded with beneficial essential oils. The small quantity of oil that strains out when we are cutting the orange peel gives the great aromatic sensation. The powerful flavour and fragrance that come from the oil have great benefits to our health. This dominant component is accountable to the remedial powers. The most notable effective elements in this oil are limonene and myrcene. Limonene is a particularly powerful antioxidant. It combats free radicals and reduces inflammations. It helps to fight various conditions. These compounds are recognised as types of monoterpenes that proved anti-tumour activities.
Can we make a keto orange beverage?
I would say, yes! And yes several times. 🙂 Let me keep it short, you can use the peel or essential oil and add it to your classic lemonade with stevia. Furthermore, you can prepare a nice cup of dried peel tea, add some stevia, cinnamon and lemon. You can enjoy it hot or iced. In fact, if you are a fan of Earl Grey tea, you might have noticed a nice citric aroma in it. It comes from bergamot which is a kind of citrus. Just a drop or two of lemon juice and stevia and your Captain Picard tea will taste almost like your ex-favourite yellow juice. Even homemade keto orange soda is possible! Please avoid all industrial sugar-free sodas. They are pure poison and they never can bring benefits. All you need is a good carbonated mineral water, a few drops of orange peel oil and some lemon. Stevia or Erythritol will make the final touch.
What about the colour?
Now, you might miss the specific colour between yellow and red. Luckily, carotene is a natural food colouring and you can use a drop or two of it to get your sunset hue. In my next projects, I will explore the possibilities of keto friendly smoothies that resemble orange taste and aroma, while still keeping the amounts of sugar and carbs very low. Furthermore, I am working on an excellent lemon marmalade that will make you believe it’s made with the round cousins of lemon. The only difference will be that it will not contain those 6 cubes of sugar per fruit. There are millions of ideas! Stay tuned and explore all the possibilities of Mediterranean Keto lifestyle.