Some People Have to Learn the Hard Way

Dear readers, I have not forgotten you. I have not abandoned the Keto WOE. I have just been living a country song the last few weeks and something had to give and that something was keeping up with the blog.

But. also like a country song, I have to admit that I cheated.

Now, don’t get carried away and think I had a weeks long affair with carbs, it was only a weekend fling.

Here’s what happened. I have been experiencing stress on top of stress on top of stress. My normal schedule is a full-time job plus a 20 hour a week part-time job. This week I also had three evenings of 1 ½-2 hour long meetings and a third side gig that lasted Friday 4pm-11pm and all of Saturday. Meals were provided for the third job and after the week I had had, I did not have the time or fortitude to provide my own food (plus, it was a sporting event at an arena and they are hardcore about no outside food.) I was exhausted from the week, so giving fasting a try was out. I thought I would just do the best I could with what was provided.

What was provided was carbs covered in carbs, with a helping of carbs, and a side of carbs with carbs to drink and of course carbs for dessert. Some meals I tried to stay on plan harder than others, like I had the teriyaki chicken and the pulled pork without buns, but they were covered in sugary sauces. Another meal was spaghetti and breadsticks, and I did not resist the siren call of garlicky breadsticks.  I never partook of the mixing bowl full of M&M’s, but a peppermint patty was consumed.  It was a weekend of temptations and I had many defeats.

That was a few days ago and my body is still punishing me for it.

One of the ways I have dealt with keto is by keeping in the back of my mind that I can have some cheat days. I am not talking about once a week like some diets, I was considering more along the lines of my birthday, Easter, and Christmas, then maybe when I have Girls Weekend with my two besties (but that’s more of an alcohol cheat.) I found it easier not to feel deprived if I was not approaching this as giving up pizza and dessert FOREVER. Forever is just too big of a word.

So, I took an unexpected cheat weekend and… IT SUCKED.

My belly felt like I had filled it with cement all weekend. It was just heavy and bloated, and that feeling is still making its way through my digestive tract and that is as much detail as you want to know.

I hear this differs with people, but keto was helping my sleep and this weekend that was out the window. I am having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep again. I am sure this lack of sleep is not helping my stress levels or my chances of getting back into ketosis anytime soon. My energy level is non-existent and even BPC cannot help!

The best I can say is that it has been a learning experience. One of those learned the hard way learning experiences. Like any fling, it was fun at the time, but has only left me with regrets and a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.



A Mystery is Afoot…Too Bad I Don’t Like Mysteries

I am a reader. My favorite term for the kind of reader I am is Book Slut.  I will read almost anything. Reading has shaped my life and career, but the genre that never did it for me is mystery and I find myself in the middle of one.

I have been doing strict keto for over three weeks now and the scale has not moved, the inches have stayed put, and the clothes still fit the same.  So the mystery is what else is going on?

My list of suspects is long. Food sensitivities? Leaky gut? Insulin resistance? Eating too much? Eating too little? Exercising too much? (OK, I can safely eliminate that one.) Stress?  Too much protein? Some of these? All of these? Something else entirely?

My top suspect is stress. I work two jobs which comes to a minimum of 60 hours a week. I work two jobs because of a major home repair that could not wait and has caused a huge financial strain. My beloved dog is sick and the vet cannot figure it out, so I am worried about her and spent money I already did not have on multiple vet bills. So, my stress is caused by things out of my control and cannot be scaled back, so how do I reduce it?  Seriously. How?  This is not a rhetorical question.  Even with all this stress, I suspect it has a partner in my weight loss woes.  But what could it be?

My first step is I suppose I should find a naturopath or functional medicine doctor.  I have a very traditional doctor. She once told me I would just be on Aleve the rest of my life for an elbow injury.  Instead I went to a chiropractor and he set me straight medication-free.  I am a very logical person, so I have had a few things make it difficult for me when I have made tentative attempts to find one.  First off, I live in the Midwest in a deep Red state. This is not exactly a hub of holistic healing.  Vegetarians are rare, vegans are non-existent. I have never heard anyone around here talk about paleo and definitely not keto. Jimmy Moore has a list of keto friendly doctors (currently under reconstruction) and the closest on his list was two hours away.

My few attempts at Googling have netted sparse pickins’. I am not New Age-y at all. I am practical and logical, which is why keto appeals to me.  I have always thought nutrition was the key to good health (I’m not saying I never ignored this obvious revelation, but I intuitively understood eat well, feel well.) So the nutrition focus of the few naturopaths or functional medicine doctor websites I have found is a plus. My concerns were more about they usually had either a vegetarian/vegan only path sprinkled with healing crystals and moonbeams or were all supplements, supplements, supplements that conveniently can only be purchased at that office.

So with the moonbeams and crystal crowd, I am just not confident I can get them aboard the keto train and the whole point of going to them is to have nutritional support. Plus, I don’t think it would be good for my eye health if I am rolling them the whole time I am there.

Now I have nothing against supplements…in moderation. I think they are fine and I take some. I take fish oil because I do not like seafood in general. (I literally had corn/soybean fields on every side of my house growing up, so seafood was not a taste I developed.) I take vitamin D because I just don’t get enough sun. I take those because I will not get those nutrients from food. Another reason I was attracted to keto was its emphasis on real, whole foods. It appeals to the scientific argument that resonated with me that eating this way was how we evolved to where we are today. So the idea of going to a doctor whose main goal seems to be pushing his product line isn’t doing it for me. If I wanted to fix my problems by popping pills, then I could stick with eating pizza and ice cream and get a box of prescriptions from a traditional doctor.

Then, of course, is the question of health insurance. I have pretty decent insurance, so I want to be able to use it. Not taking insurance or possibly even being eligible is also a problem I ran into as I peeked at the possibility of finding a holistic practitioner.

So I have my mystery and an idea of who I need to find to help me, but I am going to have to make a deep dive to find one.

On the bright side, I guess this means I will have plenty of topics to write about for a while.

Ugh. #TerribleSilverLinings


Avocados All Day

IMG_1151Avocados are another one of the Holy Grails of Keto. They are a great source of healthy fats.  Plus, they are fairly versatile. Many keto gurus will even talk about eating one to two daily.  That’s a lot of avocados.

I have not fully explored the avocado possibilities, but I do have a couple of favorites.

Well, since breakfast is my jam and it is the first meal of the day, let’s start there.  I started off with a recipe I found. Basically, you would halve an avocado and scoop out a little bit. Beat an egg with some broth or water and add salt/pepper to taste. Here is the tricky part: getting the avocado to set level on a baking sheet.  The recipe suggested cutting a little off the bottom so the avocado does not roll. I kept squishing it too much, so I tried putting them in a jumbo silicon muffin cup. When I would try to pour half the egg into each of the avocado halves, I found the egg really likes to stay together so I would always end up with half the egg in the bottom of the muffin cup (if I was lucky.) Then I would add some shredded cheese and broken up cooked bacon and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  It looks and tastes great, but a lot of egg went to waste with spills, plus the egg that stays in the bottom of the cup just tastes weird.

I had to make some modifications.  So now I do it more as a casserole type bake.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a small baking dish (the one I use is 4×6 glass dish.)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of broth (dealer’s choice)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • avocado
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices of cooked bacon chopped up

Beat together the eggs, broth, and salt/pepper. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado in chunks into the dish.  Pour in the egg mixture, cheese, and bacon.  Stir to spread the ingredients evenly in the dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Serves two and it reheats nicely. Mix up the dish by trying different cheeses or sub ham or sausage.

IMG_0042One additional thing this recipe taught me was a great avocado trick. If you have an avocado that needs ripening, then halve and bake it for a little bit until it is your desired softness. I only wished I would have known this before the guacamole debacle of 2017.  The horror was unspeakable.

Speaking of guacamole, I have found a really good, and more importantly, easy recipe. Guacamole is great alone or as a condiment to add flavor and healthy fats to all sorts of foods.  It’s kind of miraculous. You will need:

  • 2 avocodos
  • 3 tbsp. lime olive oil (okay, I know this might be hard to find, but it is so worth it. This adds a level of creaminess that is transcendent.)
  • small tomato chopped (or five-ish cherry or grape)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

Super simple. Just scoop the avocados out with a spoon into a bowl. Smash it up with a fork. Add the olive oil and stir in the rest of the ingredients.  See, simple.

Chips are a keto no-no, so I like to use cheddar Whisps as my vehicle of guac transport to my mouth. Yum.


Blame It On Keto

I am trying to keep a schedule for this blog, but I failed to publish on Sunday because I was sick.  I had the flu. Regular flu, not keto flu. Just your run of the mill flu.

This made me think of something I have noticed in the keto world: there are two groups of keto followers. There are the keto-ers who think keto is a miracle on a plate that will fix every ailment and problem. Diabetic? Try keto. Cancer? Try keto. Marriage on the rocks? Try keto. Dog got fleas? Try keto.

Maybe we will talk about that group another time. Today, I want to talk about the other type of keto-er. The ones who blame keto for EVERYTHING. What do I mean? I am referring to the perennial Facebook post or podcast question where the questioner relates a random illness or symptom and asks, “is this because I am eating keto?”

Now, I understand that keto can have some unexpected side effects like keto flu, keto breath, or hair loss; but some things have nothing to do with keto. For example, every feeling of illness is not the keto flu, sometimes it’s just a cold. Ask yourself: is everyone around you also coughing, sneezing, or blowing their noses? If so, you probably don’t have a new strain of contagious keto flu.  Have a scratch? Ask yourself, “do I have a cat or do I really think ketones are sharp and poke me from the inside?”

I see these types of posts attributing everything to keto so much that when I noticed my curly hair was not looking so curly, my first thought was, “is keto straightening my hair?” No, it was the super dry cold weather. Like it is every winter. I needed conditioner, not carbs.

Carbs is what it comes down to. Many of the posts I see trying to pin anything and everything negative happening to that person also will contain the phrase, “should I increase my carbs?”  There it is.  That’s the real question.

I am no expert, but if you are experiencing a new ailment first think, “does this look like any other cold/allergy symptoms I have had a million other times?” Next, “do I really think this is a keto problem or a craving problem?” Be honest with yourself. Then do some research and see if it is a keto side effect.

Whether you find it or not, it ultimately comes down to we are all unique individuals with unique needs, so you probably need to do experiments on yourself and determine your carb-tolerance. What amount of carbs keep you feeling tip top and in ketosis?


Not me.

Not whomever turned you on to keto.

Not your favorite expert.

That is the blessing and the curse of keto. We are all different and have different needs, so you have to play around to find what works best for you. Keto is not a set formula, so it initially can take a lot of work to find your winning keto combination.

I wish it were easier than that, but this ain’t no calorie in, calorie out oversimplification.

Good luck and keep washing your hands. It’s (non-keto) flu season.


Making Martha Stewart Jealous

I may not always hit it out of the park for lunch and dinner, but I have got breakfast down.

My breakfast choices do generally revolve around eggs, so let’s go over one of my favorites.

If I have time in the morning, I like to do a Bacon Spinach Goat Cheese Scramble. It is really easy, fairly quick, and soooo yummy!


  • 2 slices of bacon
  • tbsp of bacon fat
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach (a nice handful)
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs
  • 1-2 tbsp of broth (dealer’s choice)
  • 2 oz. of goat cheese

What I do is use kitchen scissors to cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces into a frying pan or cast iron skillet.  Cook the bacon over medium high heat which usually takes around 3 minutes.  While the bacon cooks, beat the eggs with the broth. I was taught to make scrambled eggs with milk, but that is a keto no-no. I read that water works, but broth gives a bit more flavor and electrolytes. You can also save time by baking the bacon ahead of time.


Add the extra fat and spinach. Sauté it until it wilts. This is pretty quick. Scoot it to the side to make room in the middle for the eggs. Pour in the eggs, let them cook about 30 seconds, and then scramble it all together. Once the eggs are done, take it off the heat and stir in the goat cheese. If goat cheese is too adventurous for you, then cream cheese also works, but c’mon, live a little!


Viola! An easy, delicious, yet impressive sounding breakfast.  When anyone asks you what you had for breakfast while they are eating a stale bagel, you can casually say, “Oh, I just whipped up a Bacon Spinach Goat Cheese Scramble,” and sound all fancy and like you have your sh!t together because goat cheese makes anything sound gourmet.




First Real Test

I love my family. I do not have issues getting along with anyone. I do not have a childhood trauma that I am trying to eat away. I do not have emotional baggage tied to my parents or siblings. BUT, my parents house is where I have the hardest time staying keto.

My parents are the grandparents of seven young children so the house is FULL and I mean FULL of carb-laden sweet and savory treats. Plus, this is where I grew up creating and ingraining my bad eating habits (many of those habits supported by the Food Pyramid, btw.) This defeats my main line of defense which is just not having food that tempts me around. Besides the random treats in easy reach, this visit was also a birthday party.  We had a carry-in (aka pitch-in, potluck, etc.). I brought something keto, but guacamole does not a meal make. I did my best to keep it keto, but I am sure something got by because I did not ask for an ingredient breakdown of every dish. My guess is I met my carb requirement, but did not blow my progress to smithereens.

Then came the main event: dessert. The birthday girl/boy gets to pick the main course and dessert. My aunt chose what we call Buster Bar dessert. It is an Oreo crust covered in vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge and peanuts. It is so good and so not keto.

It was hard to pass up. I basically had to hide in another room until it was put away. The big thing that kept me honest was I rode with my sister and her husband to the party and I mentioned I was not eating sugar and cutting carbs big time. Knowing they would know I was cheating kept me honest. So why don’t I just tell everyone I am keto and explain my food restrictions and why?

This will sound weird from a blogger, but I am a private person. I don’t like answering a lot of personal questions or being put in the position of defending those choices especially in face-to-face. I get enough of that at work. I am much better at collecting my thoughts and articulating them in writing. There is also the naive part of me that thinks if I do not bring up my extra weight then maybe people won’t notice it. So I have never used the term keto around anyone I know except one co-worker who showed up as a mutual friend in a keto Facebook group. (Hi, Manna!) I know keto is about getting healthy, but I need some outside, aesthetic results before I feel comfortable preaching the gospel of keto to people I know. It’s oddly harder to take advice from people you know well. It can be easier to take strangers seriously.

Is that weird? It feels weird.

To make it even weirder, I have one relative who is lactose-intolerant, another with a gluten sensitivity, and a third who won’t even try to explain her food restrictions and eats before she arrives.  Everyone does their best to bring things or put food aside before adding an offending ingredient, so it is not like I would be shunned or resented. But, my food restrictions are a choice. At this point, I feel like a huge burden if I threw my food parameters into the mix for others to deal with, too. * My hope is if this WOE does what it claims to do, then I can be an example to my family and they will make the keto choice too. I am just not there, yet. I am early enough in this journey that keto is still a fad diet I am trying out and I am mainly armed with anecdotal evidence I have heard from strangers, so it is too early for me to effectively convince those close to me this radical diet change is the way to go. Especially my dad. He is a diabetic who is two heart attacks in, so I cannot approach him as my obese, unhealthy self and say, “ignore your doctors, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and every nutrition expert and do what I say which is the opposite of what they tell you.” I do not have that authority or the body and test results to back it up, yet.

*Logically, I realize non-dairy, gluten-free is keto, but I am talking about feelings and logic has nothing to do with feelings.

So to sum up:

The good news is I survived my first big test of temptation. I also learned I may want to bring a little more food so I have more than a dip to choose from and prevent me for going for “close enough” choices.

The bad news is a big family means lots more temptation filled birthdays.  Someday I hope to be able to take a keto break once or twice a year, but right now my control over my sugar addiction is too precarious to be trying going back and forth like that.  As far as spreading the keto message to my loved ones, I am stuck on “yet.” As in “I’m not ready, yet,” “I’m not there, yet,”

“I am not comfortable enough in my body,”


On to week two.


Stress Eating

One of the hurdles to my health is I am a stress eater. I do not know why carbs are the food of feelings, but they are. We all know about sweets being a food of celebration. Maybe that is why I and so many others turn to sweets when we are sad because they are tied to happy times so you hope eating them will bring you happiness. My college roommates and I had a ritual for whenever we were having relationship problems. We would all get a half gallon of ice cream out of the freezer and do a “Men suck” session. We would go around and list reasons why men suck and eat our ice cream*.

*Full disclosure: we did not each eat our whole half gallon during these sessions, more than we should have, but not a whole half gallon. We are practical Midwesterners, so we did not buy the less economical pint size. It wasn’t about volume, it was about being fiscally responsible…

So really, the full spectrum of feelings are tied to food. Happy? Let’s celebrate with cake. Sad? Have some ice cream. Lonely? Make cookies, see if any of the dough makes it to the oven. Hanging out? Go out for dinner, coffee, or drinks. Homesick? Have some mac & cheese. However you feel, there’s a carb for that.

So when I am feeling really stressed, it is usually because I feel overwhelmed by all I need to get done.  If I am overwhelmed, then one of the first chores I want to farm out is cooking dinner. That’s when I end up eating out. There is a Dairy Queen two blocks from my house and that has not been good for my waistline.

So, as we end our first week, I have to say it was a challenge because the stress levels were particularly high. I did not cave to temptation for the empty comfort of carbs, but I was not as consistent as I should have been with my food tracking. At least it was not because I did not want to write down ice cream or pizza (or wine, lots of wine.)

I was on vacation for two weeks and this was my first week back to work.  Add to that job, I have a side gig that takes 19 more hours a week. Then I had something to attend every night after work from Monday through Thursday, ending just in time for a major ice storm to finish the week on Friday. It is hard to stay on track when you work 8 hours, have a meeting for 2 more hours, and then try to squeeze in 4 hours on the part time job. Since drive-thrus and pizza delivery were off the table and dinner prep was asking a lot, a few nights I just had some cheese and fat bombs.

I do not anticipate next week being quite as crazy (I have only three evenings of extra activities on my schedule.)  That is not nearly as comforting as I had hoped.

I have considered taking up a stress-buster like meditating, but right now the thought of adding something else to my to-do list just stresses me out more.

So any quick and easy meal ideas out there? Preferably of the heat and eat variety. Share them in comments and maybe I will actually have a meal sometime next week.