Uncategorized

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

Advertisements
Uncategorized

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?

You.

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.

Uncategorized

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.

 

Recipes, Uncategorized

Holy Grails of Keto

As I have researched and lurked in so many keto groups, I have picked up on some keto holy grails. Foods and beverages that everyone loves and newbies panic about if they do not like or allergic to any one of the ingredients involved. So, let us just start off by unequivocally stating: THERE IS NOT A SINGLE KETOGENIC-FRIENDLY FOOD OR DRINK THAT IS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE KETOSIS. I REPEAT, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT ANY CERTAIN FOOD TO BE KETOGENIC. There just so happens to be some that lots of people find work great and are prime sources of healthy fats.

OK? Are we good? No one is going to panic if they do not like coffee, are dairy intolerant, do not eat pork, or do not have a Trader Joe’s in their tri-state area? Great! Then let’s go over one of the staples: bullet-proof coffee.

IMG_0040

Bullet-proof coffee is usually abbreviated to BPC. (Another keto love is acronyms. They are all over the place on blogs and podcasts, so start your keto-dictionary now.) The really basic definition of BPC is that it is a coffee with (usually more than one source of) fat blended in and no sugar.  One thing you will learn about me is I love podcasts, so I first heard about bullet-proof coffee years ago on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. (Yes, the introverted middle-aged librarian lady listens to Joe Rogan. I am a very complex person with a rich inner-life.) The idea then was pairing fat with caffeine made for a slow energy burn instead of being hit all at once with all the caffeine.

I started drinking coffee in my twenties when I had a part time 2nd job doing deliveries from 7pm-7am on the weekends. Since my weekday schedule was a more standard 7am-4pm job, caffeine became a matter of life or death for me, so I learned to love coffee and of course I learned on sugar laden lattes made “healthy” with skim milk.

I was not grossed out by Joe’s descriptions of BPC with butter and later MCT oil added in, I just did not see the point until years later.

Fast-forward to now and I am a BPC convert. It is my favorite thing on this diet. It is delicious, hot, and endlessly customizable. One of the posts I see on the keto-centered Facebook groups I follow is some form of “What’s your recipe for BPC? Go!” Seriously, I am in just three groups and that post is on my feed daily. So, my first recipe post will be my version of BPC.

Beginning my keto journey, I had a few versions of BPC until I settled on this one:

I use a blender that was made for smoothies, so I put everything in the cup, screw on the blades, mix it up, and throw on a lid.

In the cup,

  • 1 tablespoon of Kerrygold butter
  • 1 tablespoon of MCT oil
  • about 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups of coffee

Blend for a few seconds and enjoy!

All of these measurements are approximations. The only thing I measure is the MCT oil. Helpful hint: MCT oil is something you ease into. Start out with a teaspoon or half a tablespoon and work your way up to one or even two tablespoons. Take your time, unless you enjoy diarrhea.

That BPC was heaven and I did not even miss Starbucks, but all was not well in Who-ville so I had to make some modifications.

One of the things I began to suspect about my body is that dairy and I do not mix. I am not at a lactose-intolerant level where I am unpleasant to be around in a small areas after I have ingested dairy. No, I have just noticed that it is suspect numero uno for stalling my weight loss, so I had to come up with a new dairy-free BPC.

  • 1 tablespoon of 4th & Heart Himalayan Salted Ghee
  • 1 tablespoon of MCT oil
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • small squirt of Sweet Drops (liquid Stevia, salted caramel is my fav)
  • 2 cups of coffee

Ghee is a clarified butter. The clarification part removes whatever it is that makes ghee difficult for people whose bodies cannot handle dairy. I sometimes sub in Vanilla Bean Ghee, but it took some getting used to. At first I thought it tasted like I was drinking a candle, but ghee is too expensive to waste so I powered through and now I am used to it when Himalayan Salted is not available.

Sweet drops is one of the few generally “keto-approved” sweeteners because it is liquid stevia. That means it comes from a natural plant source and does not cause insulin spikes. (Guess what! Acceptable sweeteners, if any, are a hotly contested subject in the keto world.) My deal is many artificial sweeteners have an aftertaste or give me a headache. I think the sugar-free syrups that Starbucks uses have a horrible aftertaste, so the money I have saved not going there has gone toward my ghee fund.

I have also subbed in extracts for the Sweet Drops and various other nut milks (that phrase makes me giggle). Just read labels and find the concoction that works best for you and the ingredients available in your area. They are not always easy to find, and often they are not cheap once you do, but chronic illness and Starbucks aren’t all that cost-effective either.

IMG_0039So, do not panic if you are not a coffee drinker. BPC is just popular because coffee is popular and this will get you a lot of fat and caffeine to start your day.

And what a great way to start the day!

 

Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s resolutions: a new year, new me? An exercise in futility? We will see.

Based on this blog, you have probably figured out that my resolution this year is to go keto.  I am not entirely new to the low carb lifestyle, but I have had problems staying on the wagon. As a matter of fact, I like to say I don’t just fall off the wagon; I dive under the wheels. My sweet tooth is out of control and every time I need to reset after a “fall” I do this fun thing of binging for the “last time” on all my favorite foods like pizza, ice cream, and pasta. It is a self-destructive habit that I need to break for good before I damage my health beyond repair. Based on the hours of podcasts I have listened to, documentaries I have watched, and books and blogs I have read; keto sounds like the logical way to go. I have had decades of low fat not working. The 80-ish pounds I have to lose, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and low energy are testament to that.  Maybe you are thinking, “Hey, maybe you just need to exercise more?” Granted, I will concede you that my exercise regime needs work, but when I have exercised religiously and followed a low fat diet I have not lost weight. It is not as simple as calories in, calories out.  Some say keto is too hard to do forever and I am proof that it can be hard to stick to, but being diabetic looks a hellva lot harder to me and with keto I still get bacon.

So here’s a little of my background: I am a middle aged woman who lives in a large for the Midwest city. I grew up near a small town with literally a corn/soybean field on all four sides of our house. All to say that I am not in a keto-friendly area. Corn, soy, and gluten are everywhere and it is hard to escape. That has been my biggest challenge with sticking to keto. This is for sure a mono-crop kingdom that has embraced the SAD (Standard American Diet) wholeheartedly and the false narrative of fat makes you fat has not lost any believers.

As this blog goes along, I plan on sharing what I have learned, what I am struggling with, simple recipes that I know work, weird and wonderful keto-friendly products I have found, and other ketogenic gems. This is all to help me keep accountable to myself for my health and maybe I can drag a few others along with me or we can catch each other before we fall of the wagon.

That is a very short preview of where I am coming from and where I want to go. I hope you will come along for the ride. Please like and share this blog so we can spread the word about how keto can help and heal.

Happy New Years and here’s to health!