APAS, Pregnancy Complications, and Treatments

If I had a hard time conceiving naturally, sustaining a pregnancy is a whole new level of difficulty. Soon after I found I was pregnant, I went to Hi-Precision Diagnostics lab to test for APAS. I first heard about it after my second miscarriage in 2016, when my OB suggested I take a blood test. I didn’t know much but from what I understood, some women have difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy due to problems with their immune system. I shrugged it off back then because I didn’t plan on trying for another baby anytime soon.

But when I tested positive that fateful night of July 30, 2018, all the fears of my past miscarriages overwhelmed me. I just had to know if I was one of those women, and if I did have APAS, I knew I had to manage it right away to keep my baby alive. True enough, the results came and one of the levels was elevated. The mystery as to why I couldn’t conceive as easily as “normal” women was finally solved.

I researched about APAS online and stumbled upon a Facebook group of Filipino women struggling with reproductive immunological disorders. Joining the group proved to be helpful, as I read other women’s experiences and recommendations. While there are sad and scary stories, there are also inspiring posts of miracle babies and those are what I held on to.

One of my blood test results for APAS. Here it clearly shows that I’m positive for Cat 2.

What is APAS?

Let me cite this explanation by Smart Parenting: APAS, or antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, is “an autoimmune disorder [that] occurs when the body’s immune system makes abnormal antibodies that attack and damage tissues or cells.”

As an autoimmune disorder, APS occurs when the body makes antibodies that mistakenly attack phospholipids, a type of fat that’s found in the blood. This then causes blood clots to form in veins and arteries, which can lead to numerous problems and complications.

As far as I understand, there are five categories for this reproductive immunological disorder:

Category 1 is the Leukocyte Antibody Test, or when the woman lacks blocking antibodies needed to prevent her immune system from rejecting the baby.

Category 2 is when a woman’s blood is too sticky or thicker than normal. The blood flow is hindered, putting the developing fetus at risk.

Category 3 is the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANAs), which attack the cells of a mother’s womb and the fertilized egg.

Category 4 is the autoimmune response to sperm antigen, which blocks fertilization itself.

Category 5 is the elevated presence of natural killer cells. While these are crucial to fight off infections and diseases, too much of NK cells can fight off pregnancy as well.

**Until now, I do not fully understand the science and explanation behind APAS, so I’m sharing this PDF file if you want to read up on it. This blog (click here) has also been a great resource for me.**

My blood tests indicated that I’m positive for Category 2. Just 1 out of the 5 categories. Still, this disorder will prove to affect my pregnancy greatly. My immunologist confirmed that most of my succeeding complications were a result, or related to APAS.

How my doctors managed my APAS

The first step for me in battling APAS was finding a perinatologist, or an OB-Gyne trained to handle high-risk pregnancies. There aren’t many from where I live, so while St. Luke’s Global is a three-hour drive from our place during the rush hours, it seemed to be the right and only choice for me. After a week of searching and panicking that I was wasting precious days without proper medical care, God directed me to a doctor who was readily available to see me.

She also referred me to an immunologist, who would manage my APAS. I was prescribed to take aspirin and inject heparin daily. These are blood thinners that would prevent my blood from clotting and harming the fetus. The immunologist wanted to address what was making my blood thicker than normal. He suspected that my immune system was more hyper than usual. To address this, he advised me to take two kinds of probiotics to “distract” my immune system. Aside from these meds, I was also put on steroids for three weeks to help calm my immune system. (At one point, I was taking up to 15 pills per day!)

SCH (Subchorionic Hemorrhage)

My Week 6 scan was encouraging–we saw the baby’s heart fluttering. On the downside, there was a small subchorionic hemorrhage forming in my uterus. SCH is a scary thing for me. Aside from the shock of seeing blood on my underwear, I believe I lost my last pregnancy because of this. I was put on strict bed rest as I was spotting on and off for about four weeks.

My immunologist suggested that I undergo intra-lipid infusion–a simple procedure where you’re given a blend of fatty acids and lipids through an IV. This was supposed to help the baby grow faster than the SCH. Thankfully, the blood clot was gone after one round and my bed rest was lifted just as I was entering my second trimester. I did continue the intra-lipid infusion for a total of five rounds, once a month.

Gestational Diabetes

In one of my routine blood tests, my perinatologist was alarmed that one of my sugar levels was higher than normal. It wasn’t that serious, she said, but she still referred me to an endocrinologist who then referred me to see a nutritionist. So during my second trimester, I was seeing four specialists: a perinatologist, immunologist, endocrinologist, and nutritionist.

Incompetent Cervix

My gestational diabetes was still manageable with proper diet until my 27th week–when I was admitted to the High-Risk Pregnancy Unit because my cervix was short and funneling already. My perinatologist was afraid I would go into pre-term labor, so I had to stay at the hospital for two days to get two rounds of steroid shots. These would help the baby’s lungs mature in case of premature birth. Because of the steroids, my sugar levels shot up and from this point on, I was prescribed to inject insulin four times a day.

By this time, my body could already feel the effects of all the drugs I’ve been taking. I was also getting physically weaker because I had to be put on bed rest again due to my incompetent cervix. Shortly after I was discharged, I saw a urogynecologist who inserted a pessary to temporarily close my cervix. This would hopefully buy me more time and prevent it from further dilating. My husband also got me a wheelchair so I could go around and have a small semblance of normalcy. I did not like the feeling of being lethargic and drug-induced, but I had to be diligent for the baby’s safety. I vowed to de-toxify after the pregnancy to regain my strength and chi.

Oligohydramnios (Low Amniotic Fluid) & Pre-eclampsia

Of all the complications I’ve been dealt with, nothing was more depressing than finding out that my amniotic fluid levels are abnormally low. This happened in my 29th week, and I had to stay at the hospital for a total of 11 days so I could be put on IV round the clock. I got discharged for three days but had to be re-admitted because my fluids are still getting low and my perinatologist did not want to risk a pre-term delivery. I was only 31-32 weeks by this point.

I stayed three more weeks at the hospital, and even spent my birthday and Valentine’s Day in confinement.  It was during this time that my blood pressure spiked up and I tested positive for pre-eclampsia. I also started having mild but regular contractions, so I had to take another medication to stop the contractions and also regulate my blood pressure.

I was getting weak, bored, and anxious. I questioned all the choices we made that led to this depressing point but I argued that we stuck to our doctors’ plan like obedient wards. Apart from my emotional distress, we were also getting drained financially. My husband and I are middle-class, working individuals and in no way do we have unlimited funds. If we totaled all the medications, doctors’ fees, procedures, and hospital confinements, the sum would be enough to build our home. I want to honor my husband for keeping his head in spite of our situation. Throughout our challenges, he’s prevented me from having panic attacks and always reassured me that everything will be okay.

37 weeks and counting

As I type this, I am now on my 37th week. My pessary has been removed, and I’ve stopped taking all my meds. I could give birth any time now! No one expected me to reach this far, not even my doctors. As my OB said, I’ve been dealt with every complication she could imagine, but my baby and I made it through.

This baby is truly a miracle. From his conception to his development and even the in-betweens. Even our financial status is a miracle–we’ve never spent this much money on anything, and yet we’ve also never made this much money in the span of eight months. It’s been a series of complications, but it’s also been a series of answered prayers. Truly, we’ve felt God’s faithfulness every step of the way.

The battle isn’t over yet. To be honest, I’m scared about labor and delivery. Because of my many complications, bed rests and hospital stays, I wasn’t able to prepare for childbirth. But in that moment of fear, I will try to remember the journey I’ve been through, and how God held my hand through it all.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

PS: I purposefully did not cite the names of my doctors and the cost of each treatment/procedure. If you want to learn more about how they managed my complications, or if you’re looking for recommendations, please PM me and I’d be glad to answer your questions! 🙂

My Infertility History & How I Got Pregnant

July 30, 2018, is now one of the most memorable dates in my life. I was three days delayed, so I decided to spend the day by moving and doing a general house cleaning. I dusted every shelf, swept the floor, vacuumed all carpets, did the laundry, and rearranged furniture. I thought physical activity would help my menstruation come along. The night before, I even drank soju with my husband, thinking some alcohol would also help.

I had two extra pregnancy tests from I don’t remember when, so in the evening, I said, what the heck, I might as well use them. Was I expecting to see two pink lines? No. I’ve had so many disappointments in the past that I actually didn’t think getting pregnant naturally was in my stars.

Struggle With Infertility: Polyps, PCOS, & Past Miscarriages

I got married in December 2012 although my husband and I didn’t plan to get pregnant right away. Mid-2013, though, we started to consciously try. I was 30 years old then. We didn’t consult with a doctor, but I did download apps to track my ovulation. Nothing was happening after three years of trying. I must admit that getting negative pregnancy tests month after month was a bit discouraging–not to mention, I absolutely hated it when relatives or even strangers would ask me why I still wasn’t pregnant.

Finally, in February 2015, I got a positive pregnancy test. Imagine my joy upon seeing those two lines! However, during my fifth week, I started spotting which soon after turned into bleeding. On my sixth week ultrasound, the sonologist couldn’t detect an embryo or even a gestational sac. My OB-Gyne termed it as a chemical pregnancy.

Source: http://www.healthline.com

Devasted but determined, I decided to try again. This time, with the help of a doctor. Since the chemical pregnancy, my menstrual cycle has been a mess. In December 2015, a uterine polyp was discovered after a series of transvaginal ultrasounds. I found myself at the operating table for an emergency D&C. Thankfully, the polyp was found to be benign.

After the procedure, I saw a fertility specialist regularly to monitor my ovulation. It was a grueling six-month period, from April to September of 2016. I was at the hospital almost every week for follicle monitoring. I had to take pills for fertility and ovulation. I also took a battery of tests–all of which turned out to be fine. My hormone levels were fine, my thyroid was fine, my endometrium lining was fine. Why I was having a hard time getting pregnant was still a mystery.

And then, during one of my regular ultrasounds, a sonologist saw multiple cysts in my ovaries. I refused to be tagged as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) so I decided to go for Traditional Chinese Medicine. There’s a TCM clinic in Panay, Quezon City which is run by Chinese nuns and I went there religiously every week for acupuncture sessions. After a few cycles, my period regularized and the cysts were gone.

Finally, I conceived by the end of September 2016. During my sixth week ultrasound, we saw an embryo with “good cardiac activity,” the report stated. But shortly after, I started spotting again. Subchorionic Hemorrhagemy OB said. Nothing to be done, but wait it out. Hopefully, the baby will grow bigger than the bleeding, or it will eventually bleed out. But by my 8th week, there was no longer a heartbeat. While I wanted to miscarry naturally, I had to undergo a D&C after a month of waiting to avoid infection.

Source: http://www.whattoexpect.com

In 2017, after the D&C (my second in two years), my hormones were so haywire that my menstruation became so erratic. There were months when I would bleed 30 days straight, and then there were months when I wouldn’t have my period at all. Although I didn’t want to go back to the hospital, I had to find out what was happening with my body. Apparently, I had a cyst in my ovary and I was prescribed to take pills. Again.

By this time, I was too tired, devastated, and frustrated. After a few months, I decided to stop all my medications and refused to see my doctor altogether. While I was worried, I just didn’t care why my body was acting the way it was. It was just too tiring physically, mentally, and emotionally.

At one point, I remember crying out to my husband and saying that I wanted to have my reproductive organs removed so I wouldn’t have to deal with these problems anymore.

How I Got Pregnant

I was convinced that I wouldn’t be a mother anymore. Not in this lifetime, anyway. After years of defeat and frustration, I finally decided to let go of all my negative emotions when 2018 came. I read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin because I wanted to start my own happy story. I chose a word for the year: Deliberate. I would be deliberate in all my thoughts and actions–and always choose joy over jealousy, anger, and bitterness.

Writing my goals for the year, I did not pray to get pregnant at all. I wanted to be content with my life and be genuinely happy for the others who have had their wishes granted. Also, Enzo and I were able to buy a small lot the year before, and I wanted to focus all our energies into home building. I told my husband that IF we still wanted to have a biological child after moving into our own home, we would go the IVF route.

By February, I started the Keto diet and saw results almost immediately. Two weeks into the diet, I had lost around 8 pounds and my period came like clockwork the following months. By July, I had lost a total of 18 pounds.

That fateful night on July 30, 2018, as I stared at the pregnancy test, a mixture of emotions overwhelmed me. Disbelief, surprise, joy, anxiety, fear–all directed towards those two pink lines that slowly appeared on the strip. I was pregnant the third time around. Could my third time be the charm? Enzo and I said a little prayer for our little bean, gave thanks for this unexpected surprise, and committed our fate to His will.

I couldn’t say I got pregnant because of the Keto diet–I’m no doctor and no doctor would confirm this to me. All I know is that when I lost weight, my period miraculously came like clockwork. I also know that aligning my attitude and letting go of all negativity changed my life and I’d never felt lighter.

Currently, I am at my 36th week and counting. Every day I am amazed at our little miracle growing in my belly, who has defied all expectations and taught me about faith and hope and love.

Since announcing my pregnancy on social media, many women have reached out to me, sharing their own struggles with infertility.

I FEEL YOU.

I know how frustrating it can be, to wait for 2 pink lines month after month. I know how tiring it can be, the hospital visits and synthetic medications. I know how disheartening it feels, to see everyone else get pregnant except you. And I know how irritating it is, to be asked countless of times why you still dont have children.

I just want to say, IT’S OKAY. It’s okay to speak out and share your pain. It’s also okay to hide your pain. And while we will never know what the future holds, our miracles will happen in time—whether it’s in the form of a biological child or another blessing.

For me, it took 6 years of rainbows and storms. My miracle, more than this baby, is learning the lesson of letting go and choosing joy, always.

To be continued…

My Keto Story: Weight Loss, Results, and a Surprise

Confession: I took a hiatus from my work, this blog, and my Keto lifestyle since July last year. The reason, I’ll divulge by the end of this entry. But for now, I really want to “end” my Keto journey by sharing my story and results.

At the start of 2018, I wrote down my goals for the year and one of them was to lose weight and regain what was once my energetic self. I’ve never been thin my entire life, but I knew I was already overweight. Once upon a time, I was athletic, spontaneous, and adventurous. Now I just felt sluggish all the time and I knew it was about my weight.

Feb. 4, 2018: I’ve been avoiding the scale for some time, and imagine my surprise when I found out that I weighed 158 pounds!!! I was definitely at my heaviest, and I wanted to do something about it. I’m happy we now live in a world where people are starting to love their bodies in whatever shape or form or weight they come. Let me be clear that even though I knew I was overweight (158lbs at 5’4″), I still didn’t feel any hatred towards myself or my body. I just really missed my energetic self. And let’s be honest–I also missed wearing well-fitting clothes.

A few days before, my friends and I were discussing the Ketogenic diet and so I decided to do more research. What got me sold, aside from the many testimonials I’ve seen, was that it seemed easy enough to do. Just eliminate sugar and carbs, and you’ll see results right away, right?

Wrong. After a week of the Keto diet, I realized that it’s a very scientific and precise lifestyle and it took me a lot of discipline to power through. I’ve always believed that sugar, not fats, is the real enemy so I was more than willing to cut back. But boy, did I miss my carbs! I must admit that I’ve had cheat days in between, but I’m proud to say that I stayed on track for six months.

Weight Loss + Results

From 158 lbs, my goal was to go back to my wedding weight of 135 lbs. That’s a total of 23 pounds. I did not set a deadline, just that I knew I had to reach it before the year ended. By the time I stopped the diet in July, I was down to 140 pounds–just 5 pounds short of my goal.

Aside from the weight loss, I also found that my clothes fit better and I was registering on photos better. This is a very superficial thing, I know, but hey–I’m just being honest. Who doesn’t want to look better? I also tested my blood sugar, cholesterol, and uric acid levels and they were normal all throughout I was on Keto.

Taken in November 2017, my heaviest at 158lbs. I had to “thinnify” myself before I posted this picture on social media. Guilty.
Down to 140lbs by May, 2018. No filter, no “thinnifying.”
I lost more than 2 inches off my waist.

 

Pretty soon, I would be back at doing sports–hitting the beach, surfing, and maybe even take up hiking. I didn’t get to do all those, though. Because by the end of July, I abruptly ended my Keto diet.

Continue reading “My Keto Story: Weight Loss, Results, and a Surprise”

Superstar Virgo Cruise: Why I Took a Keto Break

Confession: I took a [very] long break from my Keto diet. Last month, my family and I sailed to Japan and Taiwan from Manila via Superstar Virgo. I knew that the cruise would have amazing (read: FREE!) food, so I decided that I would take a break during the six-day trip.

May 19, 2018: Aboard the Superstar Virgo cruise

I actually broke my diet two days before the cruise. I told myself that my body needed time to adjust to all the food I’ll be eating on the ship. But really, here’s another confession: I MISS CARBS AND SUGAR LIKE CRAZY!!! And boy, did I eat!

Continue reading “Superstar Virgo Cruise: Why I Took a Keto Break”

Baked Turmeric Chicken

I’m sure you have one of those days when you’re so lazy and hungry at the same time? When laziness and hunger strike, I go for a dish that’s super easy to make–with an even easier clean-up. This is one of those dishes.

This savory dish is light, fresh, and vibrant. Whenever I eat this, I imagine myself strolling down a spice market in some beautiful foreign place. Turmeric, of course, is commonly used in curry dishes. It’s one of the most nutritious spices out there. For a full list of its miraculous health benefits, click here. Aside from its nutritional value, though, I love this spice because its color is just so pretty!

Try making this recipe for your next lunch or dinner. Serve it to guests, and have a mini Asian party! If you’re not on Keto, this dish is best served with rice. As for me, I’d settle for salad on the side, or probably cauliflower rice (if I’m not that lazy).

Baked Turmeric Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fragrant and light recipe perfect for a savory lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the spices together.
  3. Season chicken thighs with more salt and pepper.
  4. Rub the spices on the chicken, and let it marinate while you’re waiting for your oven to get warm.
  5. Drizzle coconut oil on to your chicken, and then bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, turn the chicken pieces, and bake for another 20 minutes.
  7. It’ll come out dripping in oil (good stuff!), which I like to put in a separate bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Enjoy!

Super Easy Keto Breakfast: Baked Avocado With Bacon & Egg

Whether you’re on Keto or not, you will surely love this simple breakfast dish. It’s so easy to do, too! Just cut the avocado in half, put all the other ingredients, and pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Frankly, I don’t understand how millennials nowadays love avocados so much. I used to hate them when I was young! I only ate them in shake form or when paired with lots and lots of condensed milk. Now that I am old(er) though, I’ve become one of this fruit’s biggest fans.

And being on Keto, I only have few kinds of fruits to include in my diet. Avocado is one of them, and it’s definitely on top of the list! Aside from its nutritional benefits, here’s why this super fruit is perfect for the Keto lifestyle: Per 68 grams of avocado (about one-half of the fruit), there’s only 0.5 grams of sugar and a little more than 1 gram of carbs!!!

I know this dish has been done countless of times before, and you’ll probably find a bunch of recipes on the net. No matter, I’ll still add my take here. 😉

Baked Avocado W/Bacon & Egg

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This dish is super easy to whip up every morning--a perfect way to start a busy day!

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • parsley, for garnishing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut the avocado in half, and take out the seed.
  3. If the hole is too shallow, you can scoop some out of the meat. Season each half with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Put one egg into each hole. I tend to take out most of the white part. Season with more salt & pepper to your liking.
  5. Add the grated mozzarella cheese.
  6. Top with bacon bits. Some prefer their bacon to be crunchy so they fry them first. But I like mine a bit chewy so I put them in raw.
  7. Place the avocado halves on a muffin tray to keep them in place while baking. Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

A Childless Mother’s Honest Take On Mother’s Day

“When are you having kids?” is the most irritating question people have asked me. The only thing that tops it is, “Why don’t you have kids yet?” I hate it even more if the questions are coming from people who I haven’t had a real connection with for who knows how long.

For a woman who’s had two failed pregnancies, I’d like to give a bunch of answers. Mainly, I’d want to tell them to shut up and keep their condescending thoughts to their insensitive selves. Oftentimes, some would even follow up with “Just pray. Have faith.” I know some of them actually mean well–the others just want to gossip–but it is enough to make me want to punch either them or myself.

Of course, I don’t do that. I simply pause, smile, and say, “Maybe in time.”

I am a mother. I just don’t have my children with me here. I’d like to believe they’re in heaven–because if heaven is what you want it to be, I’d want mine with my unborn children so I could hold them someday.

I’m actually fine with my situation, really. Sure, experiencing two miscarriages in a row is painful and disheartening. But I’ve dealt with those and moved on. Still, there are days when I think about the what-could-have-beens and I can’t help but shed a few tears.

Every Mother’s Day is the worst. I open my phone and I’m flooded with “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings, but they’re not for me. I text my mom and greet her, knowing that no one will do that for me. I see my friends–old classmates and former colleagues–all posting photos of their growing family, and there’s a frightening thought that creeps in: Will I ever have that? 

A back-and-forth conversation with myself takes place inside my head:

I may never have that.

Don’t say that. “Just have faith.”

Sometimes, my optimistic side wins the debate. Sometimes, it’s my glass-half-empty self that gets the last say. It doesn’t matter, though. What matters is the now, and my now isn’t exactly what I dreamt it would be.

My first miscarriage was in 2015. I learned I was pregnant on my 5th week, and by the 6th week, I was bleeding profusely. The doctors couldn’t see a yolk sac, and they ruled it as a “chemical pregnancy.” The next year, I was ready to work on getting pregnant. I did all the works–acupuncture, fertility shots, regular ultrasounds to plot my ovulation. After around three months working with my Chinese acupuncturist and one cycle with my fertility specialist, I was ecstatic to find out I was pregnant!

Continue reading “A Childless Mother’s Honest Take On Mother’s Day”

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Casserole With Shrimps & Spinach

Cauliflower, for me, is the most versatile ingredient for Keto recipes. You can make rice, pizza dough, and even desserts using this low-carb veggie hero. A cup of cauliflower florets contains only 2.9 grams of carbs, as opposed to 26 grams (gasp!) per cup of diced potatoes.

The easiest and simplest way to incorporate cauliflower in a Keto meal is by grinding and frying it to make cauliflower rice. I’ve done this so many times. I even keep ready-to-fry cauliflower rice in the freezer for when laziness strikes, which is very often! But today, I decided to slave a bit in the kitchen and make a cheesy casserole, just ‘coz I’ve been craving for Bizu’s baked rice.

Cauliflower Rice Casserole

I used three kinds of cheese here–parmesan, mozzarella, and gruyere–but you can skip the fancy ones and just stick to mozzarella (or any quick-melt cheese). The result is a gooey and creamy dish that’s a complete meal on its own. And did I say low-carb?

Continue reading “Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Casserole With Shrimps & Spinach”

Keto-Friendly Mushroom Aglio Oglio Pasta

It’s been exactly three months since I started my Keto journey. Quite frankly, I never thought I’d be a believer. But back in February, I decided to read up about it. That was after I weighed myself and was appalled by what the scale told me–but I’ll save my weight loss story for another post.

Aside from the pounds lost, what made me stick to the diet is the fun I’ve been having in the kitchen. The Keto diet allows me to experiment and find lighter alternatives to my usually sweet and carb-heavy cravings. I’m not really a rice person, but I do enjoy other forms of carbs! Especially pasta!

I’ve been missing really good pasta since I started this whole Keto journey, so imagine how happy I was when I saw shirataki noodles being sold at Healthy Options. Keto + Pasta? Yes, we can!

Shirataki Pasta, miracle noodles
Shirataki Pasta, P185.00 per pack at Healthy Options

Shirataki noodles, or “miracle noodles” as most people call them, are really that–miraculous. They look and taste (almost) like regular pasta but without the guilt! They’re made from the konjac plant, which can be found mostly in China and Japan. Shirataki noodles contain virtually zero calories and zero carbs (only 3g per serving), so they’re perfect for the Keto diet!

I assume they’re really meant to be used as an alternative for Asian dishes such as ramen or even Pad Thai, but since I was craving for a really good pasta dish I decided to make an oil-based, Italian style spaghetti.

There’s a trick to preparing these miracle noodles, though. When you open the packet, you’ll notice the funky smell right away (think stinky tofu). You definitely don’t want that smell in your pasta dish, so you have to rinse the noodles thoroughly in running water. And then you’ll have to fully drain them otherwise, they’ll be soggy and clumpy and you also don’t want that. I’ll detail the preparation process below, but don’t fret–once you get the hang of it you’ll find that it’s even easier than boiling real spaghetti noodles!

I used portabello mushrooms for this dish because I just love their earthy, smoky flavor. Was considering to make it a cream-based pasta, but I figured olive oil would make this dish taste lighter and fresher. Added some garlic, fresh basil, and crunchy bacon bits and ooooh, craving satisfied!

Continue reading “Keto-Friendly Mushroom Aglio Oglio Pasta”